The Scottish Government is absolutely committed to helping keep communities safe from irresponsible dog owners and their out of control dogs. That is why the Scottish Government will be undertaking a review of dog control law.
There is this initial consultation focused on improving the operational effectiveness of the Control of Dogs (Scotland) Act 2010 to aid enforcement agencies.
There will be a further review of wider dog control law in 2020 which will look at how the Dangerous Dogs 1991 operates and other associated dog control legislation.
The vast majority of Scotland’s estimated 600,000 dog owners are responsible dog owners who take good care of their animals and enjoy the widespread benefits of dog ownership. Owning and caring for a dog bring many benefits including companionship, encouraging a more fit and active lifestyle and reductions in stress levels.
Owning a dog however brings with it certain responsibilities including keeping your dog under effective control within our communities. It is unfortunate that a small minority of owners do not do this however which can put public safety at risk. In 2013-14 we consulted on measures to better promote responsible dog ownership in Scotland. In 2015 we announced our intention to make microchipping of all dogs compulsory, allowing authorities to identify a dog’s owner, and this came into force from April 2016. In May 2016, the Scottish Government also issued a protocol detailing the responsibilities of different bodies in dealing with irresponsible dog ownership. The further review of dog control laws through this consultation and a future consultation in 2020 will help build on this previous work of the Scottish Government.
Effective and consistent enforcement across Scotland is fundamental in helping address issues relating to out of control dogs. This review is focused on steps that can be taken to help aid enforcement agencies such as local authorities as they use their powers to help keep communities safe.
I would very much encourage you to please take the time to consider the questions in this consultation and offer your views to help shape future dog control legislation.
Ash Denham MSP, Minister for Community Safety