The owners of killer dogs could face life in prison - a huge leap from the current maximum of two years - under new proposals.
Higher sentences for irresponsible owners who allow their dogs to attack members of the public have been put out to consultation by the Government.
For owners whose dogs kill their victims, life imprisonment is an option, while 10 years is the maximum term suggested for injuring a person or killing an assistance dog, such as a guide dog for the blind.
Some 16 people have been killed by dangerous dogs since 2005, including 14-year-old Jade Anderson who was savaged by four dogs - believed to be two bull mastiffs and two Staffordshire bull terriers - as she was visiting the home of a friend near Wigan, Greater Manchester, in March.
Animal welfare minister Lord de Mauley said: "We're already toughening up laws to ensure that anyone who owns a dangerous dog can be brought to justice, regardless of where a dog attack takes place. It's crucial that the laws we have in place act as a deterrent to stop such horrific incidents."
In February, the Government said it would introduce new measures to tackle out of control dogs by changing the law to ensure irresponsible owners can be prosecuted regardless of where their dog attacks.
The new consultation will run to September 1 and will be used to inform recommendations put forward in the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill.
The Communication Workers Union (CWU), which represents postmen and women and telecoms engineers, who suffer around 5,000 dog attacks each year, welcomed the consultation. Dave Joyce, the union's health and safety officer, said: "Current sentencing arrangements do not match the serious nature of offences. Sixteen people have been killed since 2005 by dogs, yet the maximum prison sentence is just two years. Only one person has ever been imprisoned for a dog attack on a postal worker and as the fatality rate from dog attacks grows, sentencing must get tougher.
"This consultation is very welcome and hopefully indicates the Government is serious about tackling the problem of irresponsible dog ownership. We want to see tougher sentencing, better enforcement and greater consistency in sentencing."
Last month, Jade Anderson's parents, along with the parents of four-year-old John Paul Massey, who died after his uncle's pitbull attacked him in 2009, handed in a petition at 10 Downing Street calling for David Cameron to take action to prevent more attacks. They called for preventative measures and education to put a stop to the 210,000 attacks and 6,000 hospital visits caused by dangerous dogs each year.