Ogmore illegal shock collar dog owner gets £2,000 fine

Philip Pook arriving in court and his collie dog outside an earlier hearing Phillip Pook's dog was brought to the hearing before Bridgend magistrates in April

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A dog owner has been fined £2,000 after becoming the first to be prosecuted in Britain for using an illegal electric shock collar.

Wales banned the devices last year. Phillip Pook, 48, from Ogmore-by-Sea, Vale of Glamorgan, admitted using the collar, to stop his border collie jumping over a wall.

But he had denied he had been warned the collar was illegal.

It was discovered on his dog, found roaming on a beach in December 2010.

Pook was also ordered to pay £1,000 in costs, when he was sentenced.

He used the collar to try to stop the collie jumping over a high wall surrounding his property, Bridgend magistrates heard.

The court was told the collar emitted its electric shock when the dog wearing it went near a specific fence.

They also heard that the dog, which kept escaping, was known at a local kennels as "the dog with the shock collar".

The use of the dog collars was banned in Wales last year.

Prosecutor David Prosser said: "This is the first prosecution under the regulations for this type of collar.

"It operates like an electric fence, and if the dog approaches the boundaries or tries to escape it sends a shock to the dog.

"He didn't accept that it was illegal because it's legal in England. But this is the law as far as Wales is concerned."

The prosecution told magistrates that Mr Pook had been warned in April 2010 that these sorts of collars were illegal in Wales, although they are allowed in England.

Mr Pook bought the collar online six months before the ban came into effect.

'Outdated and unsuitable'

The 2010 Animal Welfare (Electronic Collars) (Wales) Regulations prohibit the use on cats or dogs of any electronic collar designed to administer an electric shock.

Chair of magistrates Caroline Naysmith said: "We accept that you attached the collar with good intentions and when you first did so it was not illegal.

"But you knew the law had changed and you continued to attach the collar anyway."

The collar shown to magistrates The collar was shown to magistrates

Under the regulations, which came into force in March 2010, using such a collar is an offence punishable with up to 51 weeks imprisonment.

Their use is still legal in England and Scotland but the issue is due to be debated by both the UK and Scottish parliaments. They are also legal in Northern Ireland.

RSPCA inspector Nic De Celis said after the case: "It's gratifying to see that this new legislation really works and is making a difference to animal welfare in Wales.

"I hope this case sends a strong message to all animal owners in Wales that the courts will not tolerate the use of these barbaric devices."

The Kennel Club also welcomed the prosecution.

'Ineffective'

A spokeswoman said: "Electric shock collars train dogs through pain and through fear - they are a cruel, outdated and unsuitable method of training dogs. "

The Dogs Trust said the use of such collars was "unacceptable, unnecessary and ineffective" and said it was disappointed the UK and Scottish governments had not yet ruled on a ban of their own.

A spokeswoman said: "The charity believes that every dog should be trained using kind, fair and reward-based methods.

"These are proven to be highly successful in modifying behaviour including aggression, without subjecting dogs to cruelty."

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