A royal case of dog bite law
Thanks to Princess Anne’s appearance at court in 2002, dog bite law has an important place in English judicial history. The Princess Royal, answering charges under the Dangerous Dogs Act, was the first member of the Royal Family to be convicted of a criminal offence.
Slough Magistrates Court heard how the Princess’s English bull terrier had attacked a twelve year old and seven year old in Windsor Great Park. The dog escaped from the Princess’s control and attacked the two children, with the elder boy sustaining bite injuries to the collarbone and left leg and the younger suffering from scratch marks on the right forearm, back and left leg. Both were taken to hospital in a ‘traumatised state’.
Under dog bite law, the punishments for an offence can include a £5,000 fine, imprisonment and the dog being put down. Fortunately for the Princess, assurances that the attack was out of character were enough to prevent her animal being destroyed. The Princess was, however, fined £500 and ordered to pay £250 compensation to each of the boys. The punishment was deemed insufficient by the victims’ relatives, who wished for the tougher penalties laid out in English dog bite law. ‘The dog is still free and a danger to society’, they announced.