Consultation launched on licensing and microchipping dogs

muzzle The compulsory muzzling of dogs in public is one of the measures to be considered by a consultation launched by the Scottish government

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Dog owners could soon be required by law to have their pets microchipped under new proposals being considered by the Scottish government.

A consultation launched, aimed at cutting the number of dog attacks, will also consider whether dogs should be licensed and muzzled.

First Minister Alex Salmond said dog owners "must take full responsibility" for their pets.

The consultation will run until 31 March.

Police, councils, prosecutors and victims groups will meet in the new year to discuss the measures.

Earlier this month, Mr Salmond met the parents of children injured or killed by dangerous dogs to discuss what more could be done to prevent attacks.

Start Quote

We want to hear what the public think about measures to encourage even more responsible dog ownership”

End Quote Kenny MacAskill Justice secretary

Broagan McCuaig, aged eight, and four-year-old Sophia Bell were badly injured in separate attacks this year.

In 1989, Kellie Lynch, 11, was killed by two rottweilers.

'Strict measures'

Launching the consultation, Mr Salmond said: "I was grateful for the opportunity recently to hear directly from the parents of children who were attacked by dangerous dogs, and the ongoing effect this has had the families of Kellie Lynch, Sophia Bell and Broagan McCuaig.

"While we already have strict measures in place to deal with dangerous dogs, the Scottish government is continually exploring ways to improve procedures to keep our children and communities safe.

"I am clear we must always consider whether more can be done to ensure people are properly protected."

The consultation, which is seeking views from experts and members of the public, will explore a number of proposals including:

  • Compulsory microchipping, which would help the authorities identify dog owners and hold them responsible for the behaviour of their animal. According to the government, this measure would also help ensure owners did not breach welfare standards. Countries such as Denmark, France, Canada and Northern Ireland have already adopted the scheme.
  • Dog licensing. A previous licensing scheme was abolished in the UK 1987. At the time only about half of all owners adhered to the law and obtained a licence, which cost 37p.
  • Compulsory muzzling. Under current dog control notices animals deemed to be out-of-control, or at risk of behaving dangerously, are already be muzzled in public. Extending the measure to all dogs could be controversial, however, since it can be difficult for dogs to pant or take in water while muzzled during exercise.

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said Scotland already had a "robust" approach to dog control, but he was keen to look at measures that would strengthen current laws.

Since it was introduced in February 2011, the Control of Dogs Act Scotland 2010 has led to 3,200 investigations into potentially out of control dogs and the issue of 240 dog control notices.

The notices require owners to microchip their dogs and can also insist on other measures such as muzzling in public.


The law was also strengthened to cover dog attacks in homes and gardens.

Mr MacAskill added: "We want to hear what the public think about measures to encourage even more responsible dog ownership, for example a new system of dog licensing, to ultimately further improve public safety.

"This consultation will allow people to offer their views on whether a more general system of muzzling of all dogs is practical or justified.

"It is crucial that our consultation approach fits the needs of our communities and we are keen to listen to the public to get their views on what more can be done to further improve public safety.

"Every incident is one too many - we need to ensure Scotland's system continues to focus on preventing these tragedies."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 141.

    116. mhggm "Such subjective belief"

    Nothing subjective about it. I don't imagine even the most enthusiastic dog lover enjoying the mess left, loose or bagged, on footpaths and in parks by less responsible owners.

    Whilst I sympathise with you as a responsible owner, I feel it right that you be inconvenienced since targeting only the irresponsible clearly doesn't work.

  • rate this

    Comment number 140.

    Microchipping all dogs does have some benefits for people... in the case of dogs stolen for example, they can be easily reunited with their owners. Same goes for pets that go missing... it's a small expense I suppose but it would have far more benefits in this application.

    Dog licenses, well if they were extremely cheap then maybe... but if it's just another business for cash then no way.

  • rate this

    Comment number 139.

    "all dogs including small ones are aggressive by there very nature"

    In that case, why keep them in a domesticated world? Surely they'd be better off living somewhere where they actually belong, like the Russian Steppe.

  • rate this

    Comment number 138.

    Certain people should be chipped... Politicians? Certain breeds of dogs can turn on humans anytime - that is the nature of different breeds of dog. A greyhound would be useless in the artcic, but a husky..

  • rate this

    Comment number 137.

    OMG - what a load of drivel. I suppose tomorrow it'll be the anti-cat brigade. Why are these comments even accepted?
    I am amused, however, that this subject is liked to Scotland's "independence". Mr Salmond you have a bunch of nutters to contend with!

  • Comment number 136.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 135.


    i have said it already you cant blame a dog for being aggressive its the owners of any dog that need educating how to treat there dog and train a dog not to be aggressive.
    all dogs including small ones are aggressive by there very nature its our jobs as owners to lead that animal and train the animal how to behave teach it to go against its natural instincts

  • rate this

    Comment number 134.

    There are certain places where such action would be pointless.
    e.g. Tranent in East Central Scotland. No use calling for dogs to be chipped in this town. They would prefer to have their dogs tattooed for ID purposes.

  • rate this

    Comment number 133.

    It's all good and well Alex Salmond playing politics but how do you enforce it.? Do the police carry chip readers with them and every time they see a dog they stop and scan it ? At what cost ?? Where is the money going to come from to pay for the administration etc I agree it will make identification of the owner easier but not full proof. As usual It's Alex using peoples misery to play politics

  • rate this

    Comment number 132.

    118 - so should an awful lot of people. Would cut the obesity rate?

    Why muzzle a totally calm loveable dog just to please some sad dog haters? Most attacks happen in the home so what's your remedy for that? Have all their teeth pulled out? Bad owners are many - bad dogs are few.

  • rate this

    Comment number 131.

    Removing dog faeces from your/children's trainers, ah, one of life's little joyous tasks which will happen no more come independence..

  • rate this

    Comment number 130.

    Good - Police equipped with 'readers'. If the beast doesn't scan incarcerate and destroy, owner and beast ~ Simples?

  • rate this

    Comment number 129.

    Microchips and licencing are a good idea. Hopefully, bad dog owners will become more accountable.

  • rate this

    Comment number 128.


    responsible pet owners get it done anyway.

    your right it wont

  • rate this

    Comment number 127.

    And will this stop dogs from mauling little kiddies or pets? No. Enforcing the Dangerous Dog Act might, however there is an unwritten understanding that Police Scotland do not enforce it. I have a chipped dog. Where I live I am on constant alert for attacks from so-called 'Staffies', which are actually pit bulls, illegal, and can be legally seized. Action is only taken following tragedies.

  • rate this

    Comment number 126.

    This country has too many dogs. Ban the breeding of breeds with known health or aggression problems, chip and DNA test every dog, neuter all dogs except those owned by licensed breeders and DNA test dog mess.

    Then require owners to get a home inspection and licence before buying a dog.

    Do it now and in 10 years time there will be half as many dogs, zero attacks, zero mistreatment, zero mess.

  • rate this

    Comment number 125.

    I would microchip the chavs who buy fighting dogs to look tough. They are the ones we need to watch out for.

  • rate this

    Comment number 124.

    Re Blooter (92)

    I always thought these were referred to as " The Munroes "

  • rate this

    Comment number 123.

    So over population, pollution, poverty, greed. human self interest are the fault of the dog now are they? I’ve read of stabbings, drunkenness, drink driving deaths every day this Christmas but they don’t constitute a headline anymore. One dog incident no doubt would have. Dogs have given people an awful lot of company and happiness this Christmas. .

  • rate this

    Comment number 122.

    . All owners to attend abedence classes wefa uve had a dog in the past or not ( there's always someting you can learn)
    . Microchiping
    . Licence to breed
    .all dogs not licenced to breed, spayed or newtured
    . All dogs that show aggression at all to be trained by a proper trainer if they believe its a risk to people then it should be put down
    . DNA on dogs to catch owners who don't clean up poo


Page 13 of 20


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