Dogs law targets the irresponsible

I am writing in response to the article printed last week in relation to the newly-introduced Control of Dogs (Scotland) legislation.

It is unfortunate that the article was printed on the same day as two other articles that were published in other newspapers in relation to the true purpose of this legislation.

The first article highlighted the horrific injuries received by a seven-year-old boy in the west of Scotland, who was attacked by a terrier at the gates of his school. This event could have been more tragic if it had not been for the quick action by another child’s parent who managed to stop the attack. However, the child was still at risk of losing an eye.

The second article involved a young man in the north of Scotland who was jailed for three years after using his dog as a weapon to attack another person.

These are two incidents reported on the same day and both clearly highlight the need for the Control of Dogs legislation.

The Scottish SPCA has been involved throughout the passage of this legislation, the whole aim of which is to identify irresponsible ownership and ultimately protect the public, something that the law did not allow prior to the introduction of this act.

Contrary to your contributor’s statement, this legislation will not affect responsible owners or lead to sanctions against dogs of any breed carrying out the normal acceptable behaviour of any properly socialised and trained dog.

This legislation is enforced by the local authority which will have to assess each report on its own merits, with some of the sanctions available being as simple as keeping the dog on a lead or keeping away from school gates etc.

This is hardly draconian legislation and should be welcomed by all responsible dog owners.

Mike Flynn

(chief superintendent, Scottish SPCA)