Parliamentary Committee finds Scottish dog control laws ‘not fit for purpose’

NFU Scotland has welcomed a report from an influential parliamentary committee that scrutinised the Control of Dogs (Scotland) Act 2010 and found that it wasn’t fit for purpose.

The Scottish Parliament’s Public Accounts and Post Legislative Scrutiny Committee took an overarching look at all legislation on dogs. NFU Scotland submitted written evidence to the committee in October 2018.

Its head of policy team, Gemma Cooper, gave evidence to the committee in March 2019, highlighting the devastating impact that livestock worrying by dogs can have on farmers and crofters.

The committee found that:

  • The current dog control law is not fit for purpose and it called on the Scottish Government to undertake a comprehensive review of all dog control legislation as a matter of urgency.
  • Current law is complex and not fit for purpose and should be consolidated.
  • The lack of implementation of a dog control notice (DCN) database must be rectified.
  • Data on out of control dogs and dog attacks should be specifically linked to the number of DCNs that have been issued and the resources available to each local authority.

NFU Scotland fully endorses calls for the urgent and comprehensive review of legislation in this area.  It similarly supports the creation of a DCN database to track problem dogs and has called for local authority dog wardens to be provided with additional resources and training to help tackle the blight of livestock worrying.

Commenting on the report, Gemma Cooper said: “NFUS welcomes the findings of this report and I hope that the Scottish Government will urgently consider a review of dog control legislation.

“During our long-running work on the issue of livestock worrying, and our ongoing Control Your Dog campaign, we have become aware of many of the issues which this report outlines, including the problems caused by the absence of a database for Dog Control Notices and a lack of resources for dog wardens in local authorities.

“Along with other issues outlined in the report, we believe that these are crucial components for properly dealing with the horrendous problems that our industry still suffers due to the blight of livestock worrying.”