Colin Smyth MSP for South Scotland has signed a letter to Roseanna Cunningham MSP, Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, calling for tougher regulation on the use of electronic training collars for animals.
The letter highlighted the concerns raised by the Dog’s Trust’s charity over the ineffectiveness of Scottish Government’s proposed new regulations on the use of electronic training collars for animals. The proposed regulations state that the use of electric pulse, sonic and spray collars will be prohibited, unless under the guidance of an approved trainer or vet.
However, Dogs Trust – who initially called for a complete ban of the use of such devices – are fearful that the new legislation leaves animals vulnerable to abuse as there is currently no regulation of animal trainers in Scotland meaning that anybody is able to use the term to describe themselves. Furthermore, veterinary training includes little information about animal behaviour and as such Dogs Trust are concerned that under the proposed regulations vets are able to approve the use of electronic collars without undergoing vital further training.
Colin Smyth, who is the deputy convenor of the cross party committee on Animal Welfare raised the issue in parliament and asked the Scottish Government what plans it had moving forward to tackle this issue.
Speaking after signing the Dogs Trust’s letter, Colin Smyth said:
“I am bitterly disappointed that the Scottish Government have failed to use their review of the current regulation on electronic shock collars to completely ban these cruel devices.
Any responsible dog owner should not need to resort to methods of cruelty to get their pets to behave and using electronic shock collars should never be seen as an alternative to properly training animals. I share the Dogs Trust’s concerns that the proposed legislation leaves itself open for abuse, which may well risk the wellbeing of dogs and other animals. I have asked the Cabinet Secretary through written parliamentary questions to clarify a number of widely-held concerns about the legislation, but unfortunately in her answers to me she has been unable to provide the clarification required to ease the minds of those of us who prioritise the welfare of animals.
You simply cannot regulate cruelty and I will therefore continue to put pressure on the Scottish Government to ensure that no dog is subjected to the use of electronic shock collars.”