Dog shock collars slammed by vets, RSPCA, as hundreds sign petition to ban


Hundreds of people have signed a petition calling for a ban on shock collars in Queensland, claiming the devices are cruel and can harm animals.

Collars, which are banned in several states and territories, work by delivering an electrical charge when a dog barks.

Ericka McDermott, the veterinary student and puppy educator who started the petition, said she has seen firsthand the damage collars can cause to dogs.

“There have been cases where electric shock collars have actually stuck in a dog’s neck,” she said.

“I saw burns, necklaces malfunctioned, and they just delivered shock after shock without going out.

“If you put on a shock collar and push that button, you know how high you got it up, you know what’s coming.

The RSPCA Queensland and veterinarians say there are other effective ways to train animals.(ABC Capricorn: Erin Semmler)

“An inexcusable cruelty”

Bruce Howlett of Stabler and Howlett Veterinary Clinic said he didn’t have a problem with some bark collars, including those that caused a “mild” electric shock.

But he said he had seen electric drive collars with intensity control functions misused.

“You can buy them on the Internet,” Dr. Howlett said.

“Some of these collars have variable settings.

“I think this is inexcusable animal cruelty.”

Dr Howlett said he saw dogs left on the ground “shaking” after receiving shocks through the devices.

“It is simply unacceptable,” he said.

A young smiling woman with two dogs.
Ericka McDermott is lobbying the state government to crack down on shock collars.(Provided: Ericka McDermott)

Queensland dragging chain

Shock collars have already been banned in South Australia, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory.

People who use an electric collar on their dog in South Africa face fines of $ 10,000 or 12 months in prison.

In New South Wales, a cash fine of $ 500 can be imposed.

Ms McDermott said many countries have cracked down on the devices.

“In Denmark, Norway, Austria, Germany – they’re all banned, they’re completely illegal in those countries and it feels like we’re a little late there,” she said.

RSPCA Queensland spokesman Michael Beatty said the organization would welcome the ban on necklaces in the state.

“They can be extremely painful for the animal and we believe in reward based training rather than pain based training it really is that simple,” he said.

Dr Howlett said he knew top dog trainers who had never put on a dog collar.

“My take is that if these guys can train at the elite level without using collars, why are we making available to anyone a collar that has the potential to knock a dog off their feet? ” he said.

A small fluffy brown and white dog standing on the grass wearing a big black collar.
Dr Howlett says he has seen dogs traumatized by shock collars.(Provided)

Act under review

A spokesperson for Biosecurity Queensland said the government was reviewing the Animal Care and Welfare Act.

In the statement, the department said “all aspects” of the state’s animal welfare laws needed to be reviewed.

“If it turns out that an animal has experienced unreasonable and unjustifiable pain or is suffering from the use of an electric shock collar, it could constitute a breach of duty of care or an offense of cruelty under the law, “the statement read.

Mr Beatty said there were a number of changes the RSPCA would like to see made to the 20-year-old law.

“There are definitely some things that need to be tweaked and some things that we would like to see changed,” he said.

Ms. McDermott’s petition, which has drawn more than 600 signatures, is open until May 23, while the state government’s review of the law is open for consultation until May 21.


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