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Electric shock dog collars to be banned in Scotland

Roseanna Cunningham said causing pain to dogs with inappropriate training methods was unacceptable.

Petition calling for the devices to be outlawed attracted more than 19,000 signatures (Chris Radburn/PA)

The use of electric shock collars for dogs is to be banned in Scotland, the Scottish Government has announced.

Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said causing pain to animals by “inappropriate training methods is clearly completely unacceptable”.

The ban will be introduced through guidance issued under the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006.

It has been welcomed by animal charities and campaigners including Scottish Conservative MSP Maurice Golden, whose petition calling for the devices to be outlawed attracted more than 19,000 signatures.

Ms Cunningham said: “After carefully considering the concerns raised by stakeholders and the public about electronic training collars for dogs, particularly the ready availability on the internet of cheap devices which can be bought by anyone and used to deliver painful electric shocks, I have decided to take steps to effectively and promptly ban their use in Scotland.

“Causing pain to dogs by inappropriate training methods is clearly completely unacceptable and I want there to be no doubt that painful or unpleasant training for dogs will not be tolerated.

“I am particularly keen to support the work of Scottish enforcement agencies with effective and practical measures so that anyone found causing pain to dogs through the use of collars or other devices can be prosecuted as they deserve.

“I will therefore be issuing strong Ministerial guidance on the use of all painful training devices for courts to take into consideration in any cases brought before them regarding unnecessary suffering through the use of these devices.”

The government said guidance would be finalised in the coming months, however initial draft guidance was published on Wednesday.

OneKind director Harry Huyton said: “Electric shock collars are cruel, unnecessary and ineffective.

“I’m delighted that the Scottish Government has today taken a stand against cruelty and taken decisive action against their use.”

Mr Golden, who is due to lead a members’ debate on the issue at Holyrood on Thursday, said: “I am very pleased the Scottish Government is finally announcing a ban on the use of electric shock collars for dogs, that they have listened to our campaign, and to the 20,000 people who signed my petition.”

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