CHANGES to the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 have come into effect giving police greater powers to tackle irresponsible owners.

The legislation has been extended to include all private property meaning that for the first time dog owners will no longer be immune from prosecution if their dog attacks somebody in the home.

The maximum sentence for the owner of a dog who kills somebody has been raised from two years to 14 years and owners face up to five years imprisonment if their dog injures somebody.

The changes to legislation have been introduced just over a year since the tragic death of Jade Lomas-Anderson on March 26 after she was attacked by dogs on the Hag Fold estate in Atherton.

Supt Mark Kenny from Greater Manchester Police said: “Sadly we have all seen the devastation caused by a dog attack and welcome the changes in legislation that will help improve public safety and responsible dog ownership.

“While the introduction of new powers can’t bring anybody back or take away injuries sustained we hope that the news brings some small comfort to those families that have had to deal with the heat-breaking consequences of a dog attack.

“I hope the new powers and penalties will urge you to think very seriously about training and controlling your dogs.”

The change in legislation will also provide additional protection to people who visit homes such as health visitors, postal staff and utility workers but it does not protect trespassers.