A government consultation is underway on proposals to increase the current maximum prison sentence for dog owners who allow their dogs to carry out aggravated attacks.

It is proposed that under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, the maximum sentence will increase to life imprisonment for anyone who allows their dog to be dangerously out of control and the dog injures or kills a person or an assistance dog.

There are also plans to extend the circumstances in which a prosecution can be brought forward. Currently, owners can only be prosecuted for dog attacks where dogs are prohibited from being, such as in a public park or a neighbour’s garden.

The legislation could be extended to cover private property such as the owner’s home, while providing protection for homeowners whose dogs attack intruders.

The government consultation on the proposals will run until 1st September.

Judith Gledhill, Head of Personal Injury at Thompsons Solicitors, said: “Tougher sentences for owners of dogs who kill and injure while dangerously out of control are long overdue.

“Thousands of dog attacks take place in Britain every year and the number of fatalities is far too high. The possibility of spending life in prison should help to reduce the number of attacks by encouraging owners to keep their dogs under control.

“At Thompsons Solicitors, we have seen how physically and psychologically damaging dog attacks can be on individuals and their families.

“We fully understand the long-term effect these attacks can have and have helped victims who have suffered horrific injuries to claim compensation.”