Two years in the slammer if your dog bites a burglar

The United Kingdom seems to have a lot of concern for protecting the rights of burglars as they commit crimes against law abiding citizens. The case of Tony Martin, convicted of murder (later reduced to manslaughter after an international outcry) in 1999 for killing a burglar in his house with a shotgun was only the beginning. Now comes news from the UK Telegraph that the Wales parliament is vetting legislation that would send dog owners to jail for up to 2 years if their dog bites a burglar in the course of committing a crime.

[The]  Control of Dogs (Wales) Bill contains the provision for owners to be jailed for that period if a dog injuries another pet or a person, and to be given an unlimited fine.

The current Animal Welfare Act provides for owners to be jailed for a maximum of six months and fined up to £20,000.

The draft legislation, out to consultation until March 1, provides no defence if a dog bites a burglar, or if the person bitten provokes the dog.

The Kennel Club believes the Welsh Government had "got this one wrong".

It is a good idea to make dog owners responsible for their pets' behavior. But since the dawn of civilization, man's best friend has performed an invaluable role in alerting people of intruders, and taking them on with their only available weapon - their teeth. Dogs' loyalty, their willingness to sacrifice their own survival to defend their masters, is one of the reasons they rank as man's best friend.

Obviously, the bill should exempt those in the course of commission of a crime from any protections under the law. However, given the trend in UK law, it seems that rendering powerless the law abiding subjects of Her Majesty and protecting the criminal element from any self-defense measures of their prey is a greater priority than protect8ing the innocent.

Hat tip: David Paulin

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