Using a dog as a weapon, a dog owner can commit murder

It may surprise people to know that, in extreme cases, it might be possible to prosecute a dog owner for murder if their dog attacks a person and as a result of that attack the person dies. Normally if a dog owner’s dog attacks a person, say in a public place, the owner would be prosecuted under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 for being in charge of a dog dangerously out of control. That would be a serious charge in itself but clearly murder is the most serious which could lead to a prison sentence for life which normally equates to about 15-20 years.

Dog-walker ‘killed by an XL bully’

The above subheading is a headline in The Times today. The newspaper has reported on the arrest on suspicion of murder of a man who owned an American XL bully. The XL bully dog attacked a dog walker who died while protecting his puppy.

The XL bully charged at the dog-walker’s puppy and Ian Langley, 54, a father of one, reached down to protect it. The XL bully bit Mr Langley on the throat. When these large, aggressive dogs bite people they don’t let go. This is what a witness said about the attack:

Once a dog that big and powerful latches on they don’t let go and it has caused some really terrible damage to him.

In this instance, the dog killed Mr Langley. Initially the XL bully owner – who has not been named – was arrested on suspicion of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm. But Mr Langley died in hospital after CPR was applied to him for 15 minutes and the emergency services try to stop the bleeding.

After Mr Langley died, the dog owner was rearrested on suspicion of murder and remains in custody which means that he is currently in a police cell probably in Sunderland, Tyne & Wear, in the north of England. The attack took place in the evening in Maple Terrace, in Shiney Row, a village in Houghton-le-Spring, Tyne & Wear.

Dog owners should be aware that in the most extreme cases they could be prosecuted for murder. The lesser charge of being in charge of a dog dangerously out of control is also very serious and will probably result in imprisonment. And of course, the dog will be destroyed by the police. That’s what happened in this case by the way.

You may remember that Britain’s Prime Minister has pledged to outlaw the breed by the end of 2023. That’s because there’s been a spate of fatal attacks by American XL bully’s in Britain. Another example is Ian Price, 52, who died after he was attacked by two dogs in Staffordshire last month. A further example is the serious injury to an 11-year-old girl who was attacked in Birmingham recently.

PS: Mr. Langley has been described as a “lovely, kind man, who doted on his puppy”. He was of a slight build and it is said that he wouldn’t hurt a fly. He stood no chance against the XL bully.

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Post Category: Animal laws