Judge calls for tougher sentences for dangerous dog owners

Tue, 25 Feb 2014

A judge has called for an urgent reform of the Dangerous Dogs Act.

This demand comes after Judge Peter Clarke QC heard how a pit bull terrier mauled a four-year-old girl in the street.

Carla Cutler was riding her scooter along the pavement when she was attacked by the dog outside Gospel Oak Station in Camden, north London.

Judge Clarke told Blackfriars Crown Court: "This case has demonstrated that the maximum sentence for this kind of offence is in urgent need of reform."

Currently, the maximum sentence for being in charge of a canine that causes injury while dangerously out of control in a public place, under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, is two years.

Judge Clarke revealed the extent of the injuries inflicted by the dog was the worst he had seen in his 40 years in the criminal justice system. It also transpired a police officer at the girl’s hospital bedside had to hold back the tears as he witnessed the brutality.

The canine's owner has been sentenced to two years in prison, having been arrested at the scene.

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