A commitment was made to the Scottish Parliament in January 2018 to issue guidance on electronic training aids under Section 38 of the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006. This commitment was fulfilled in October 2018 when Scottish Government Guidance was issued that outlines the expectations of the Scottish Government as regards dog training methods, and highlights the risks, to dog welfare and of potentially committing an offence, of using aversive training methods (Annex A).
The guidance makes it clear that causing unnecessary suffering through the use of any type of aversive training aid, including electronic training aids, may be an offence under the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006, depending on the circumstances of the case.
It provides advice on all dog training aids for both dog owners and enforcement agencies and may be considered relevant by the courts in any prosecution of an offence under the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 relating to inappropriate training methods. This will depend on the facts and circumstances of the case and the guidance may not necessarily have any bearing, for example if harm was not inflicted using the training aid in question.
The Scottish Government also committed to reviewing the effectiveness of the guidance in helping to prevent the mis-use of aversive training methods after
12 months in light of the practical experience of Scottish enforcement bodies.
This report fulfils that commitment.
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