Dog control laws not fit for purpose, warn MSPs

Written by Liam Kirkaldy on 18 July 2019 in News

Following a review MSPs warned of an “unacceptably high prevalence of dog attacks" 

Image credit: PA

Legislation aimed at promoting responsible dog ownership is "not fit for purpose", according to the post-legislative scrutiny committee.

The legislation, introduced in 2010, brought in a system of "dog control notices" to impose measures on people who do not keep their dog under control, while giving ministers the power to establish a national database of notices so information could be shared across the country.

But following a review MSPs warned of an “unacceptably high prevalence of dog attacks" and urged the Scottish Government to launch a comprehensive review of all dog control laws immediately.

The Committee heard that a lack of data was a significant barrier in evaluating the effectiveness of the 2010 Act and that the failure of Scottish Ministers to use the powers given to them under the 2010 Act to establish a Scottish Dog Control Database was unacceptable and must be rectified immediately.

It was recognised that a lack of awareness and a lack of resources at local authority level have limited the effectiveness of the Act, leading to an insufficient number of dog control wardens being appointed to enforce the current law.

Committee Convener, Jenny Marra MSP, said: “Dog law in Scotland is not fit for purpose. There are still far too many dog attacks on children and little enforcement or understanding of the current laws that might prevent these attacks.

“It has become clear that current dog control law doesn’t work. It needs reformed urgently so that out of control and dangerous dogs can be dealt with properly and we can try to move to a system that prevents our children being injured by dogs.”

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