Animal charities have backed calls for the Scottish Government to look at banning electric shock dog collars.
The Kennel Club, Dogs Trust and Scottish SPCA have all come out in support of Tory MSP Maurice Golden’s proposal, which also seeks a review into whether to make the theft of a pet a specific offence.
Mr Golden’s amendment to the Animals and Wildlife (Penalties, Protections and Powers) (Scotland) Bill – if passed by MSPs on Wednesday – would commit the Scottish Government to consider the issues and publish a report by April 2025 at the latest.
Holly Conway, the Kennel Club’s head of public affairs, said: “The Scottish Government still hasn’t delivered on its promise of introducing an effective and prompt ban on electric shock collars so this amendment could be a huge step forwards in finally prohibiting the use of these cruel and unnecessary devices, which tens of thousands of people in Scotland have signed a petition against.
“At the moment, while the use of shock collars isn’t advised, the devices are also not actually outright banned, meaning dogs are still suffering and being trained using fear and pain.
“Dog behaviourists and trainers denounce them and research shows that they can cause severe interference and pain, and that dogs trained using confrontational methods will continue to be aggressive – so why are electric training devices still legal?”
On the issue of pet theft, Ms Conway added: “The theft of a dog, or any pet for that matter, has an impact that far exceeds any associated financial loss.
“We have always been in favour of tougher sentencing for pet theft so we hope that MSPs recognise the emotional value of pets and impact of losing them on their owners’ lives, and support this amendment.”
On Twitter, both the Dogs Trust and Scottish SPCA praised the proposal, with the latter tweeting: “These are both welcome amendments on issues we are passionate about and have long campaigned for.”
The proposed legislation increases the penalties for the worst animal welfare crimes, enables emergency rehoming of pets and would introduce Finn’s Law – named after a police dog stabbed while trying to protect his handler – into legislation to protect service animals.
At the Bill’s second stage, rural affairs minister Mairi Gougeon also said the Scottish Government is prepared to consider making more animal welfare crimes subject to maximum penalties.
Opposition parties have proposed offenders found guilty of deliberately destroying birds’ nests and eggs, damaging breeding sites and “harassing” birds of prey could face up to five years in jail and unlimited fines.