The Scottish Government are seeking views on a range of issues which may improve the operational effectiveness of the Control of Dogs (Scotland) Act 2010.

In February 2011, the Control of Dogs (Scotland) Act 2010 (“the 2010 Act”) came into force.  This legislation was a Members’ Bill brought forward by Christine Grahame MSP which gave powers to local authorities to help control dogs within communities.  In particular, powers were granted to local authorities to be able to impose dog control notices (DCNs) on dog owners who allowed their dogs to be out of control.  A DCN contains a number of conditions aimed at requiring dog owners to take more responsibility for their dogs.

The regime introduced by the 2010 Act was intended to be preventative in that its aim was to help identify out of control dogs before they became dangerous so that the behaviour of the dog and the dog owner can be encouraged to change to help avoid future dog attacks occurring.

The use of this legislation has come under scrutiny since it was introduced.  As local authorities have become more used to using their powers under the 2010 Act, a number of issues have been raised about the operation of the legislation and this consultation is looking at how the operational enforcement of the 2010 Act may be improved.  

The areas covered within this consultation have all been raised over a period of time as being potential areas where changes may help local authorities and, where relevant, other enforcement agencies in helping keep communities safe from out of control dogs.

There are wider changes to dog control law which will also be considered in the longer-term in a separate review in 2020.  The focus of this consultation is on practical measures that may improve the operational effectiveness of the operation of the 2010 Act with some, though not all, capable of being progressed without new legislation.

In summary, the Scottish Government is committed to seeking to explore the necessary steps to allow local authorities deliver effective enforcement of the 2010 Act and help the 2010 Act legislative regime deliver on its intended purpose of helping prevent future dog attacks by enabling action to be taken against irresponsible dog owners before their dogs become dangerous.

The consultation will close on 15th January and can be found here.