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25th February 2011
APBC members have been called upon as leading advisors to help provide training for Scottish councils in preparation for new dog laws.
On the 26th February 2011, the Control of Dogs (Scotland) Act 2010 comes into force in Scotland. This new law will allow local councils deal more effectively with owners who allow their dogs to cause nuisance or alarm to people or other animals. For the very first time the public will be able to complain about the behaviour of dogs in public places and even in the owners house and garden. Importantly, irresponsible owners who allow their dogs off lead, knowing that their dog has aggressive tendencies towards other dogs can be dealt with and a Dog Control Notice issued.
Authorised Officers will now have the power to demand that owners of dogs who are deemed to be out of control, must attend behavioural or training sessions, be muzzled, kept on lead, neutered or any other measure that they think may be appropriate in order to keep the public and other animals safe.
The APBC were asked to provide basic training for Authorised Officers, following a meeting with a representative from the Scottish Government and Mike Flynn Chief Superintendent of the SSPCA. Elaine Henley, then a provisional member offered to lead the project with the assistance of other Scottish based APBC members. The training event was held on in Glasgow; 32 Councils in Scotland sent a delegate.
The APBC were well represented with Donna Brander, Steve Jenkinson and Elaine Henley all delivering presentations to the delegates; with Joanne Drysdale coming along to offer support and answer delegates questions. As well as giving a brief introduction to dog behaviour, with emphasis on aggression, Steve and Elaine also gave presentations on each of the remedial measures open to Authorised Officers. During the day, delegates were given a specially written booklet, which gave them more information about each of the subjects covered during the day. Special thanks must go to Elaine, Joanne and Stephanie Hedges, who had spent a great deal of their time writing the booklet.
Feedback from the delegates suggests that they thoroughly enjoyed the day. Billy Gilchrist, from East Ayrshire Council, when asked to name the key thing that he now understands about the Control of Dog legislation wrote “ the need to consider animal welfare as an issue when dealing with potential dangerous and aggressive dogs”. He further added that he thought that the APBC should continue to promote a better understanding of dog behaviours, their causes and the rehabilitation of unwanted behaviours.
Elaine Henley, Full member APBC