Great Debate: Should all fatal dog on dog attacks be criminalised the same as attacks on assistance dogs?

dog on dog attacks - should they be criminalised?

When it comes to dog on dog attacks, current law only specifically covers a dog injuring an assistance or service dog – unless another human is injured or seen to be at risk. This means that, this exception aside, owners of dogs who attack and even kill another dog are not liable for prosecution.

A new bill is seeking to change that. What do you think: should fatal dog on dog attacks be criminalised to the same degree as a fatal attack against an assistance dog?

In May, Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation (CAWF) Patron Anna Firth MP launched her Private Members Bill, the Animal Welfare (Responsibility for Dog Attacks) Bill. She said, “I am delighted to launch Emilie’s Law in memory of my constituent Michael’s beautiful Bichon Frise who was tragically killed in a dog attack in 2021. It is frankly scandalous that irresponsible dog owners are currently able to shirk all responsibility when their dog fatally attacks another, creating untold distress and harm to the deceased dog’s owner and wider family.”

“Of course, not all dogs are dangerous and not all dog owners are irresponsible, but it is crucial we have accountability under the law so that in instances such as Michael’s, justice can be pursued.”

Readers of Dogs Today got in touch with many stories of dog-on-dog attacks, even fatal ones, in which police simply did not intervene. Many are in favour of this Bill, saying it would bring in much-needed accountability for dog owners whose pet kills another dog. Others have commented that while every pet matters, assistance dogs are on a league of their own when it comes to the impact their loss has on their owners, and that this difference should be recognised through harsher punishments than the rest.

What do you think – should fatal dog-on-dog attacks be criminalised the same way for all dogs?

Let us know what you think here, on Facebook, or by writing to with “Great Debate” in the subject line


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