Dog control notices ineffective

NFU Scotland considers that Dog Control Notices (DCNs) remain chronically under-utilised by many local authorities

The union has made a submission to the Public Audit and Post Legislative Scrutiny Committee outlining the ineffectiveness of the Control of Dogs (Scotland) Act 2010 in reducing the number of out of control dogs/dog attacks in Scotland.

The Union’s submission, which includes evidence from a recent case of livestock worrying as well as a Freedom of Information (FOI) request, highlights a low number of Dog Control Notices issued by local authorities for livestock worrying.

Over six months between 1 December and 31 May, 21 out 32 local councils in Scotland issued no Dog Control Notices for livestock worrying, while another seven only issued one.

These figures, which came from a FOI request from NFU Scotland, highlight just how under used Dog Control Notices are in the majority of local authorities in Scotland.

NFU Scotland Policy Manager Gemma Cooper said: “NFU Scotland is very supportive of the aim of the 2010 Dog Control Act which is to ensure that dogs which are out control are brought and kept under control, by tackling irresponsible dog ownership.

“However, figures on the number of dog attacks on livestock for the past five years show that the number of attacks remains far too high despite public awareness raising and partnership working.

“The 2010 Act introduced Dog Control Notices, but because these have been chronically under used they have not had a positive impact in terms of reducing livestock worrying. Local Authorities have a statutory duty to issue these, and to monitor their effectiveness, but NFUS is very concerned that this does not seem to have occurred.

“The 2010 Act also made provision for Scottish Government to introduce a national database of Dog Control Notices. NFU Scotland is not aware that this has occurred and feels that this must be an underpinning component of any new framework which is implemented.”