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'No' Vote on Consultation for Dogs to be Muzzled in Public

31 October 2014

SCOTLAND, UK - In an unsurprising decision, the vast majority of people who responded to a consultation on responsible dog ownership have said they are not in favour of compulsory muzzling of all dogs in public places.

The consultation asked members of the public for their views on how to improve public safety in Scotland.

Over 97 per cent of those who responded were against the proposal for muzzling.

Other measures, including compulsory microchipping, were also consulted on and the Scottish Government has published the full responses today.

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said: “We already have long-standing laws in place to help protect members of the public from dangerous dogs, but this consultation has provided us with the opportunity to see if there is anything more that can be done to strengthen legislation in Scotland.

“Authorities already have the option of muzzling available for dogs in certain cases but this consultation allowed people to offer their views on whether a more general system of muzzling of all dogs is practical or justified.

“It was a radical proposal but it was important that communities across Scotland has the chance to give their views of every option available.

“It is clear from the responses that communities right across Scotland do not think this is a measure that will encourage responsible dog ownership and, as such, we will not be progressing with any policies on this.

The majority of respondents were also in favour of a system of compulsory microchipping and the Scottish Government is now considering the practicalities of introducing this across the country.

Microchipping of all dogs is already a legal requirement in Northern Ireland and will become a requirement in Wales in 2015 and in England in 2016.

Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead said: “The Scottish Government recognises microchipping as an effective method of identifying animals and can help re-unite dogs with owners where the dogs have been lost or stolen and the owners of dangerous or out of control dogs can already be required to microchip their dogs.

“The responses to questions clearly show an overwhelming public appetite for some sort of compulsory microchipping scheme. This is really positive however it is only right that we fully explore the practical aspects of this, including costs, before we make a definitive decision and my officials will continue to work on this with a view to announcing a decision in the near future.”

Gemma Hyland, Editor

Gemma Hyland, Editor

Top image via Shutterstock

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