Use of dogs to control foxes and other wild mammals: consultation

A consultation on proposals to strengthen the law relating to the use of dogs to hunt and flush foxes and other wild mammals in Scotland.


The Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act 2002 (the 2002 Act) primarily concerns the use of dogs to hunt wild mammals. This legislation does not entirely ban the use of dogs, but places significant restrictions on doing so.

The main purpose of the 2002 Act is to ban the deployment of dogs to chase and kill wild mammals such as foxes, hares, mink, etc. (Rabbits and rodents are excluded from the definition of 'wild mammals' for the purposes of the 2002 Act.) However, the 2002 Act also provides a number of exceptions which allow the limited use of dogs for certain situations including:

  • Protecting livestock, ground-nesting birds, timber, fowl (including wild fowl), game birds, or crops from attack by wild mammals*
  • Protecting human health*
  • Preventing the spread of disease*
  • Controlling the number of pest species*
  • Sport (i.e. falconry and shooting)*

It also permits dogs to be used for the purposes of:

  • Searching by an authorised person with no intention of harming a wild animal.
  • The retrieval and location of shot hares and escaped, released, seriously injured, or orphaned mammals.

The full 2002 Act is available online.



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