Interesting thread and interesting diversion off topic too. I do not want to mediate but i have a good idea what Chopper is/was and i totally understand his points. PurpleFrog - you are reading some form of guidelines which are not the actual legislation - they seem, to me, to be some type of government warning (more nanny state stuff). If you find the actual legislation - it should be here somewhere -http://www.legislation.gov.uk/
it should give the definitive law on the topic. The law is enacted by Parliament for Police Officers and other agents (Dog Wardens) to enforce where necessary. It must be read in conjunction with other legislation - PACE usually, which will details what the enforcement authorities can actually do. The enforcement authorites report the facts to the CPS, who make a decision as whether to prosecute or dispose of the case by other means. Guidance on CPS prosecution guidelines are available on line. If a case is brought to Court the Resident Magistrate/District Judge/Judge will deal with it as they deem appropriate - i am pretty sure there are Sentencing Guidelines available on line somewhere too. All in all, this is a pretty confusing process and each agency normally concentrates on their own part - Police report, CPS decide, Court sentences (or not).
Trying to quote law and legal practices in a forum is difficult at the best of times and each individual will have their own knowledge and input. It is dangerous to misquote or misinterpret sections and this will prolong any discussion/arguement. If you can stick to one set of circumstances and one offence it is pretty simple.
In this case where a dog chases a cat and the cat is injured - a few pieces of legislation may be appropriate for enforcement agengies - if it is 'dog issue' perhaps it would be a Dog Warden who investigates but if the dog deliberatly was 'set on' the cat - that may be Criminal Damage - which would be a Police matter. Where the dog is classed as a 'Dangerous Dog' both agencies may be involved! So, what appears to be a simple topic at the outset has become more complicated.
This is before mens rea is considered - this is another can of worms to discuss and both posters have made valid points in relation to the subject of 'mens rea' but (i suspect you both know) that mens rea requires to be proved in some circumstances and not in others so it really is a moot point until you decide what offence you are discussing.
Happily, i do not own a dog, unhappily i have dog shit in my garden regularly which is left by the minority of dog owners who live locally. If CCTV was an option i would consider it, but on the news this week, the local Dog Wardens have threatened to install covert CCTV cameras to catch these owners. This gets back on topic regarding RIPA - and my opinion is that authorisation is not required as it is not targetting at an individual but at a public area. I can see that it may be required if an individual dog owner is subject to covert surveillance.
To conclude the madness of our legislation (thankyou ECHR!) - i presume that some Rbers have helmet cams etc and i presume that, on occasion, that they may pedal past a school etc. I presume the camera records as they pedal past and perhaps the school children are getting out and are recorded. What about the legality of that?
A song to make you smile (i remembered it when typing about my garden!) -http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JYjtBeVYsEw
Thanks for reading my 3p's worth, i await comments with interest,
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