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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-14706: Maurice Golden (West Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 19 February 2018

To ask the Scottish Government for what reason the proposed ban on electric shock collars for dogs will be introduced as guidance and not through secondary legislation; what the legal status of this guidance will be, and how it will be enforced.

Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham 23 March 2018

The Scottish Government had previously intended to only allow the use of electronic training collars under the supervision of properly qualified dog trainers. As laid out to Parliament on 25 January 2018, the continuing concerns expressed about that proposed approach led to the proposal being reviewed. That is why it was decided not to pursue the initial plan and officials were instead asked to prepare clear Scottish Government guidance emphasising that any physical punishment of dogs that causes unnecessary suffering is not acceptable in Scotland and may be an offence under the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006. This includes the use of electronic collars that administer an electric shock, anti-bark collars and any device that squirts noxious oils or other chemicals or substances into a dog’s face.

In contrast to secondary legislation under section 26 of the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006, we believe it is more appropriate to issue guidance under section 38 of the 2006 Act on the use of electronic collars and similar devices as this can be done quickly.

The guidance will provide an advisory aid to those involved in the enforcement of animal welfare legislation. Those persons may refer to the guidance when issuing advice, warning letters or care notices under the 2006 Act or when presenting evidence for potential prosecutions under section 24 or section 19 of the 2006 Act.