Scots have a legal responsibility to keep dogs under control
A new campaign has been launched to remind dog owners that they have a legal responsibility to ensure their dog is kept under proper control.
Latest data from Public Health Scotland shows 875 people were admitted to hospital in Scotland in a one-year period after being injured by dogs. The Scottish Government and SSPCA campaign urges people to report out of control dogs, in order to reduce the risk and help prevent dogs becoming dangerous or hurting others.
Any dog, regardless of breed or size, can cause fear, apprehension, and alarm if its behaviour is out of control.
Minister for Community Safety Ash Denham said: “The Scottish Government is determined to help keep Scotland’s communities safe from irresponsible dog owners and their out of control pets.
“Some people have taken on new dogs, enjoying the company of pets during the pandemic and our campaign reminds owners, old and new, that they are legally responsible for ensuring their dog is kept under proper control.
“Any dog attack is one too many and I urge anyone who sees a dog behaving in a potentially dangerous or out of control manner to report the matter to their local council for investigation.
"The law will be enforced when people report out of control dogs and it is the responsibility of all dog owners to help prevent their animals hurting others.”
A dog doesn’t have to bite a person or animal to be classed as out of control and sadly, in some cases, dog aggression can lead to more serious incidents.
Mike Flynn, Scottish SPCA chief superintendent, offered owners some advice.
He said: “If your dog is behaving aggressively, and this is out of character, get them checked by your vet to ensure there isn’t an underlying issue. If there is no health issue, consult an experienced behaviourist or trainer for advice.
“We’d always recommend keeping your dog on a lead if it has shown aggression to people or other animals.
“However, even the most friendly dog can be frightening for people and other dogs. Make sure your dog has a strong recall command before letting it off lead and respect other people’s wishes if they don’t want your dog to approach them.
“Ensuring your dog is under control also prevents it from running away, becoming lost or attacking another animal.
"Make sure your dog is microchipped with up-to-date details and has a collar and name tag so if it does become lost there’s a better chance you’ll be reunited quickly.
“Lastly, if you are buying a puppy, please make sure you buy from a responsible breeder either through the SSPCA Assured Puppy Breeder Scheme or the Kennel Club.
"Puppies raised in low-welfare environments can have serious behavioural and health issues.”
To find out more, visit www.mygov.scot/controlling-your-dog.