The UK’s largest organisation dedicated to the health and welfare of dogs, the Kennel Club, is supporting the proposal to amend the Animals and Wildlife (Penalties, Protection and Powers) Bill in Scotland, as put forward by Maurice Golden MSP. Members of the Scottish Parliament will be asked to vote this Wednesday on the amendment which would force the government to review the current legislation on electric shock collars and pet theft – potentially resulting in better protection and improved welfare for the nation’s much-loved dogs.
Holly Conway, Head of Public Affairs at the Kennel Club said: “The Scottish Government still hasn’t delivered on its promise of introducing an effective and prompt ban on electric shock collars so this amendment could be a huge step forwards in finally prohibiting the use of these cruel and unnecessary devices, which tens of thousands of people in Scotland have signed a petition against. At the moment, while the use of shock collars isn’t advised, the devices are also not actually outright banned, meaning dogs are still suffering and being trained using fear and pain.
“Dog behaviourists and trainers denounce them and research shows that they can cause severe interference and pain, and that dogs trained using confrontational methods will continue to be aggressive – so why are electric training devices still legal? This must be reviewed as a priority and so we support Maurice Golden’s tabled amendment, and urge cross-party support from MSPs to prevent the unnecessary suffering of dogs in Scotland.”
Although these devices are marketed as harmless, and range in price between £10 and over £200, shock collars train dogs out of fear and pain. They cause physical pain to dogs and can result in anxiety-related behaviours and re-directed aggression. Extensive research has proved that training a dog with a shock collar is harmful and unnecessary, given the vast array of positive dog training tools and techniques available.
On the subject of pet theft, Holly adds: “The Kennel Club also absolutely supports a review of whether to make pet theft a specific offence. The theft of a dog, or any pet for that matter, has an impact that far exceeds any associated financial loss. We have always been in favour of tougher sentencing for pet theft so we hope that MSPs recognise the emotional value of pets and impact of losing them on their owners’ lives, and support this amendment.”
The Kennel Club is urging any animal lovers in Scotland who want to improve and protect dog welfare to write to their MSP in support of the amendment.
Visit our campaigns section to read further information on The Kennel Club’s campaign to ban shock collars, and the organisation’s other lobbying work which aims to give dogs and owners a voice.