WALES - JAMES LEIGHTON WILLIAMS HAS BEEN SENTENCED TO 16 WEEKS JAIL AND BANNED FROM KEEPING DOGS FOR LIFE AFTER HIS AMERICAN BULLDOG ATTACKED A GUIDE DOG
A MAN has been jailed and banned from keeping dogs for life after his pet attacked and injured a guide dog.
James Leighton Williams is the first person to be prosecuted by South Wales Police since an amendment to the Dangerous Dogs Act 2014 that made it an offence to own or be in charge of a dog that attacks an assistance dog.
Cardiff and Vale of Glamorgan Magistrates' Court heard that on January 29 Williams' AMERICAN BULLDOG attacked a guide dog at the YMCA in Roath, injuring the animal and leading to its retirement.
Williams, aged 39, from from St Mellon's in Cardiff, was sentenced to 16 weeks imprisonment and was banned from keeping dogs for life. The court also issued an order for the American Bulldog to be destroyed.
The sentence was welcomed by inspector Frances Williams of South Wales Police.
She said: "This is the first prosecution by South Wales Police involving an assistance dog since the Dangerous Dogs Act was amended in 2014.
"The 2014 Act makes it an offence to own or be in charge of a dog that attacks an assistance dog. An attack on an assistance dog resulting in injury will be treated as an aggravated offence with a maximum penalty of three years in prison or an unlimited fine, or both.
"This prosecution will send a message to dog owners to be responsible and have control of their dogs at all times. South Wales Police takes this matter very seriously and welcomes this outcome."
Speaking after the sentence, Jonathan Mudd, head of charity Guide Dogs Cymru, thanked the police for prosecuting the incident.
He said: "An attack on a guide dog can be devastating for both owner and guide dog. It can leave someone living with sight loss isolated at home, robbed of their independence and freedom.
"We are grateful for the action taken by the police in this case and we will ensure that the guide dog owner concerned gets the support she needs to continue to get about safely and independently."