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Chamber and committees

Question reference: S6W-26627

  • Asked by: Maurice Golden, MSP for North East Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party
  • Date lodged: 2 April 2024
  • Current status: Answered by Siobhian Brown on 18 April 2024


To ask the Scottish Government whether a veterinary surgery is regarded as a public place for the purposes of the rules regarding XL Bully dogs, and, if so, what allowances have been made to allow muzzles to be removed for the purposes of examination by a vet.


Section 10 of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 defines “public place” as any street, road or other place (whether or not enclosed) to which the public have, or are permitted to have access, whether for payment or otherwise and includes the common parts of a building containing two or more separate dwellings. Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 ( .

A veterinary waiting room is likely to be considered a public place for the purposes of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 as the public are permitted access. Under the conditions of the exemption, dogs must be on a lead and muzzle when in public.

A veterinary consultation room, where access is limited to veterinary staff from the practice and members of the dog’s household, is likely to be considered a private space for the purposes of the Dangerous Dogs Act. In this instance, if the dog is kept securely in the consultation room and the veterinary staff feel comfortable to do so, the muzzle may be removed.

There will be a need for business owners, including veterinary surgeries, to ensure they carefully consider the legal requirements that have been introduced in relation to XL Bully dogs.

In addition, under section 3 of the Dangerous dogs Act 1991, if any dog is dangerously out of control in any place, including all private property, the owner, or person for the time being in charge of the dog, is guilty of a summary offence.