Animal welfare campaigners criticise decision over electric shock dog collars

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Animal welfare campaigners said it was “extremely disappointing” the Scottish Government will continue to allow dog owners to use electric shock collars.

Ministers say new regulations being brought in will introduce tighter controls on the use of the devices than there are in England.

But the Kennel Club and others want use of the devices outlawed.

The Kennel Club and Scottish Kennel Club, veterinary organisations, dog trainers, behaviourists and MSPs attended an event at the Scottish Parliament on November 8 to ask for ban to the collars.

Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club secretary said: “It is extremely disappointing that despite the large amount of scientific evidence proving that electric shock collars are a cruel training method for dogs, the Scottish Government has decided to pursue a costly route to regulate shock collars rather than implement an outright ban.

“The Kennel Club has grave concerns that if the government supports a formal training qualification which allows electronic training devices, it will legitimise the use of shock collars and gaining the qualification may be viewed as an aspirational target for dog trainers.

“This governmental approval would also send a message to the people of Scotland that using these painful devices is an acceptable way to attempt to train a dog, when there is a wealth of evidence proving to the contrary.”

The Kennel Club and Scottish Kennel Club are now urging dog lovers to write to their MSP asking them to show their support for an outright ban on the sale and use of shock collars.

They believe a dog should not be punished with electric shocks or any other painful treatment simply because their owner did not find out how much training or exercise their dog would need before buying or adopting their pet.

Maurice Golden, Scottish Conservative MSP for West Scotland, said: “Electric shock collars are harmful and have no place in modern dog training.

“The advice from academia, dog behaviourists and trainers is clear – electrocuting dogs does not help train them.

“Despite this, the Scottish Government plans to create a new regulatory regime to allow continued use of these harmful devices.

“Sadly, the proposed regulatory regime will only create unnecessary bureaucracy and do little to prevent dogs from being harmed.”

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “We believe the use of electronic training aids should be strictly limited and controlled.

“That’s why we will introduce new regulations, which will ensure these devices are subject to much tighter restrictions than in England.

“The Scottish Government is working with trainers to develop a recognised qualification for those who wish to continue using stimulus collars in a controlled and responsible way.

“This approach will help prevent the euthanasia of dogs with serious behavioural problems, which may not respond to other forms of training.”

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