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Calls for outright ban on shock collars for pets in Scotland

By Laura Paterson, Political Reporter, Press Association Scotland

The Scottish Government is facing calls to bring in an outright ban on electric shock collars for pets.

Scottish Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham announced last year she would take steps to effectively and "promptly ban" the use of the collars in Scotland and guidance was issued on their use.

However, the government later clarified that use of the devices, which campaigners argue is painful and cruel for animals, is not prohibited.

Conservative MSP Maurice Golden said: "Over 20,000 people signed my petition to ban these harmful devices which cause so much harm to dogs.

"That is why it is hugely disappointing that the Government have completely failed to deliver on their promise to ban these harmful devices.

"This is an issue that cannot be kicked into the long grass, the Government must act urgently and outline plans that will see electric shock collars for dogs banned once and for all."

Mr Golden hosted a drop-in event at the Scottish Parliament last week for MSPs to pledge their support for an outright ban.

The UK Government announced plans in August to ban electronic shock collars for pets and the devices are banned in Wales.

Rachel Casey, of the Dogs Trust, said: "We are disappointed that despite previously committing to effectively ban the use of electronic and other aversive training devices, a year later the Scottish Government has only issued guidance about their use.

"This means that Scotland's pets are not protected from the negative impacts of using these cruel devices."

She said changes could be made to a dog's behaviour through positive reinforcement without the need to use the collars.

Lindsay Fyffe-Jardine, of Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home, said: "We strongly believe that an outright ban on the use of shock collars is the only outcome that will ensure dogs are protected from the fear and misery these collars bring."