Committee supports tougher treatment for owners of out-of-control dogs

26/01/2010

Dog owners who do not keep their pets under control could face a raft of tough new penalties under a Member’s Bill supported today by the Local Government and Communities Committee.

Under the new Control of Dogs (Scotland) Bill introduced by Christine Grahame MSP, local authorities would gain greater powers to impose penalties – through dog control notices – on owners where their dog’s behaviour is a problem, but not necessarily dangerous.

These include keeping the dog on a lead in a public place, neutering the dog, keeping the dog away from specific places and requiring the dog and owner to attend special dog-control training courses. Failure to comply with these could result in a fine of up to £1,000.

Local Government and Communities Committee report on Control of Dogs (Scotland) Bill

Committee Convener Duncan McNeil MSP said: “We welcome this Bill that will ensure owners who allow their dogs to be out of control and a danger to the public are penalised.

"While the Committee is in support of the Bill, concerns were expressed that the costs to local authorities of implementing the dog-control-notice regime would be higher than is envisaged in the Bill. We have therefore asked Christine Grahame to respond to these concerns.”

Background

The Committee recommends that the general principles of the Bill be agreed to. The Control of Dogs (Scotland) Bill was introduced on 22 June 2009 as a Member’s Bill by Christine Grahame MSP and seeks to tackle out-of-control dogs by targeting the behaviour of their owners.

Current legislation such as The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 applies only to threatening behaviour and attacks in public places and private places where the dog is not permitted to be. The new Bill would extend this to private places where the dog is permitted such as the owner’s home.

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