Calls for an outright ban on shockproof pet collars in Scotland

Dog with electric collar

The Scottish government is facing calls to ban electric collars for pets altogether.

Scottish Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham announced last year that she would take action to ‘quickly ban’ the use of necklaces in Scotland and guidelines have been published on their use.

However, the government later clarified that the use of these devices, which activists say is painful and cruel to animals, is not prohibited.

Conservative MSP Maurice Golden said: “Over 20,000 people have signed my petition to ban these harmful devices that cause so much harm to dogs.

“This is why it is extremely disappointing that the government has completely broken its promise to ban these harmful devices.

“This is an issue that cannot be tossed into the long grass, the government must act urgently and outline plans that will see electric dog collars banned once and for all.”

Mr Golden hosted a walk-in event at the Scottish Parliament last week for PSMs to pledge support for an outright ban.

Maurice Golden MSP
Maurice Golden signs pledge in Scottish Parliament (DogsTrust / PA)

The UK government announced in August its intention to ban electronic pet shock collars and devices are banned in Wales.

Rachel Casey, of the Dogs Trust, said: “We are disappointed that despite our previous commitment to effectively ban the use of electronic training devices and other aversive training devices, a year later the government Scottish has only published guidelines on their use.

“This means that Scottish pets are not protected from the negative impacts of the use of these cruel devices.”

She said changes can be made in a dog’s behavior through positive reinforcement without the need to use collars.

Lindsay Fyffe-Jardine, Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home, said: “We strongly believe that an outright ban on the use of shock collars is the only result that will ensure dogs are protected from fear and of the misery that these necklaces bring.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: ‘The guidelines issued by the Scottish Government make it clear that the improper use of electronic training aids may be – depending on the circumstances of the case – an offense under the law 2006 on Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) if the user knew or should have known that the action would cause unnecessary suffering.

“We fully expect this advice to be of real and practical benefit to dog owners in Scotland and those involved in law enforcement in the field.

“The principle of introducing guidelines as a deterrent, and the wording of the guidelines themselves, were developed in consultation with the Kennel Club and a number of animal welfare organizations.

“We made it clear that we would review the effectiveness of these guidelines after 12 months and then consider whether there could be any improvements. As such, criticism of the guidelines at this point would seem premature at best. “

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