Calls for ‘cruel’ electric dog collars to be banned

Calls to ban electric dog collars
Calls to ban electric dog collars

There are renewed calls for the use of electric dog collars to be banned in the UK

The ‘cruel’ devices have come under the spotlight following calls for them to be outlawed in Scotland by a Tory MP.

And, the collars are already banned in Wales, with one owner receiving a £2000 fine for continuing to use a shock collar after the ban.

However, in England and Scotland there are merely guidelines over the use of what are described as ‘training aids’.

This has led the Scottish Government to work to bring in new regulations which they insist will introduce tighter controls on the use of the controversial devices than those which currently exist in England.

However, Nicola Sturgeon is under increasing pressure to ban the use of electric dog collars after more than 10,000 people signed the petition created by Conservative MSP Maurice Golden.

Electric collars are intended to be used by dog owners and trainers on animals with serious behavioural problems, but charities and campaigners claim they are cruel and say that they should be banned outright.

It has been estimated that up to 500,000 people across the currently UK use the collars, which can provide shocks lasting up to 30 seconds.

The West of Scotland MSP, who believes that simply regulating the sale of shock collars would legitimise their use in the minds of dog owners, has also won the backing of several prominent animal charities.

“Electric shock collars are harmful, and the expert advice is clear that electrocuting dogs doesn’t help train them,” Mr Golden said.

The move comes at an unfortunate time, as the UK Government this week voted to rule that ‘animals cannot feel pain or emotions’ while debating the EU withdrawal bill.

Any moves to ban the devices via the UK parliament would only affect England. However, a similar petition exists, started by Sophie Barrick, who has a degree in animal behaviour.

Her petition - which also calls for the banning of ‘prong collars’ - calls for the shock devices to be banned as “all they do is inflict fear and pain”. However, only 2,810 people have signed it to date.

SSPCA chief superintendent Mike Flynn added: “Any training or control device that can inflict pain on an animal, from which it has no means of escape, should not be used.

“We can see no reason why they should be allowed for sale to the general public, given that the Home Office banned their use by trained military and police personnel over a decade ago.”

Electric dog collars have been banned in Wales since 2010, where their use can result in a fine of up to £20,000 or up to six months in jail.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “We are determined to introduce strict regulations on the use of electronic training aids.

“Our plans will limit the use of stimulus collars to a small number of qualified, professional trainers.

“This approach is designed to help prevent the euthanasia of dogs with serious behavioural problems, which may not respond to other forms of training.”