Following the committee review of the Control of Dogs (Scotland) Act 2010 (released Thursday 18th July 2019), the Kennel Club and Scottish Kennel Club have issued the following statement:
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: “We have long been calling for more effective implementation of the 2010 Act and welcome the review’s acknowledgment of the lack of available and consistent data, and the necessity of a central database. Enforcing the collection and sharing of data would enable us to better understand the problem and therefore inform preventative strategies which are actually effective.
“While we are pleased the review recommends that the Government undertakes a comprehensive review of all dog control legislation, in order for this to be effective it is essential that any new legislation is properly considered with views represented from across the wider dog welfare sector.
“For example, we would question the recommendation from the committee that local authorities should be given the power to create bylaws which ban dogs off the lead. Dogs require off-lead exercise and dog owners are legally required to provide a duty of care to their pet. Insufficient exercise can not only cause obesity and other types of illness, but also frustration which can lead to aggression, so this could be counterproductive.
“We are also concerned that reintroducing dog licences would be ineffective; potentially wasting time, money and resource. Our view is that irresponsible dog owners are unlikely to apply for a licence, this can be evidenced by looking at Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland where compliance rates are less than 50 per cent. We don’t believe that reintroducing dog licences would have any effect on responsible dog ownership, instead we would point to the committee’s recommendation of educational and awareness-raising resources.
“Overall, it’s essential that any new legislation is properly and broadly considered across the board, consulting all stakeholders, to better protect the public against dogs dangerously out of control, without compromising any individual dog’s welfare. We welcome further discussion with stakeholders, government and local authorities.”