Owning a dog brings with it important responsibilities. The vast majority of the owners of Scotland's estimated 600,000 dogs are responsible people who take good care of their animals and enjoy the widespread benefits of dog ownership and companionship.
However, a small minority of owners fail to keep their dog under proper control, which can put people at risk and cause public safety concerns across our communities.
The Scottish Government is committed to responsible dog ownership to help keep our communities safe.
The Control of Dogs (Scotland) Act 2010 ("2010 Act") came into force on 26 February 2011, and statutory guidance was issued ahead of implementation of the legislation.
As we look ahead to the 10 year anniversary of the 2010 Act coming into force, the focus of the legislation continues to be on the "deed not the breed" approach in tackling irresponsible dog ownership.
The Scottish Government considers that as local authorities have had nearly a decade of experience of use in their 2010 Act powers, it is an appropriate time to issue updated guidance that reflects lived experience, use of the legislation and an opportunity to reflect on the lessons learnt to help inform and shape future policy and legislative change in this area.
This updated guidance therefore includes examples of best practice of local authorities use of their powers.
It is important to note however that the underlying legislation has not changed over the past 10 years. Looking ahead, if amendments to the 2010 Act are considered necessary during the term of the next Scottish Government administration, this guidance will be revisited.
Ash Denham MSP
Minister for Community Safety