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Scottish government set to tackle the number of dog attacks

Posted by: Sophie Berrisford  Date: 06/01/2014   Category: Latest News

As the compulsory micro chipping of pets date in England gets nearer the Scottish government have now launched a consultation in hope of cutting the number of dog attacks across Scotland.
All dog owners could soon be required to microchip their pets by law, a law that is said to increase the safety of both dogs and the general public. By micro chipping all dogs, it is quick and simple to find the owners information and will help cases of aggressive dogs as the owner who is responsible can be found. It also helps lost dogs be reunited with their family quickly without causing the dog excessive distress. Micro chipping is also useful to find out the details of a dog owner if the dog is abandoned or injured as once taken in by the vets or local authorities the owner can be contacted.

The government will also consider in the consultation whether dogs should be licensed and muzzled in public. After an increase in recent dog attacks the government are looking at ways of decreasing the number of injuries by having all dogs muzzled whilst in public. The consultation with Police, councils and victim groups begins in the New Year and will run until the end of March when a decision will be made.

Launching the consultation, First Minister Mr Salmond said: “I was grateful for the opportunity recently to hear directly from the parents of children who were attacked by dangerous dogs, and the ongoing effect this has had the families of Kellie Lynch, Sophia Bell and Broagan McCuaig. While we already have strict measures in place to deal with dangerous dogs, the Scottish government is continually exploring ways to improve procedures to keep our children and communities safe.”

The main points of the consultation to be explored are compulsory micro chipping which is already being run successfully several countries such as in France, Canada and Northern Ireland. It would identify dog owners which helps hold them responsible for any future dog attacks hopefully ensuring every dog owner is in control of their dog. It also would look into Dog licensing which has already run in Scotland but was abolished in the UK in 1987. This again would reiterate the need of taking responsibility of your dog at all times. Finally the consultation would look into compulsory muzzling, for the safety of other dogs and the general public.

Scotland already has an approach to dog control where dog control notices can be issued which require owners to microchip their pets or muzzle in public however the government are keen to do more. Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said “It is crucial that our consultation approach fits the needs of our communities and we are keen to listen to the public to get their views on what more can be done to further improve public safety. Every incident is one too many – we need to ensure Scotland’s system continues to focus on preventing these tragedies.”