New laws come into force today, which could see dog owners facing fines of thousands of pounds if they fail to take steps to prevent their animal attacking others people.
Under the new legislation, authorities will be able to issue community protection notices, dubbed “dogbos” by the tabloid press.
These can order owners to take steps to control their pet’s behaviour, including neutering, muzzling or micro-chipping the animal.
Those who aren’t taking their responsibilities seriously could also be forced to attend training classes.
Failing to comply with the notices could see individuals fined up to £2000 or a business being hit with a maximum penalty of £20,000.
Lord de Mauley, the animal welfare minister, said the Government was determined to take decisive action against negligent owners.
“Dog attacks are devastating for victims and their families which is why we are taking tough action against those who allow them to happen,” he said.
“Police and local authorities will now have more powers to demand that irresponsible dog owners take steps to prevent attacks before they occur.”
With around nine postmen and women attacked by dogs every day, it’s no surprise that Royal Mail was among the first organisations to welcome the new laws.
MPs have been compelled to take action because of the growing concern about the number of dog attacks taking place across the UK.
In 2013, 6740 people required hospital treatment – an increase of six per cent from the year before.
In addition, eight adults and 13 children have died as a result of dog attacks since 2005.