An overarching look into the legislation on dogs has prompted a call on Scottish government to undertake a comprehensive review ‘as a matter of urgency’.
The Scottish Parliament’s Public Accounts and Post Legislative Scrutiny Committee criticised the Control of Dogs (Scotland) Act 2010, suggesting it was ‘complex’, not fit for purpose and should be consolidated.
It said evidence from victims of dog attacks had suggested that there was still an ‘unacceptably high prevalence’ of dog attacks in Scotland and that numbers had not reduced since the provisions of the 2010 Act came into force.
Certain evidence actually pointed to an increase in dog attacks, the report said.
It added: “Given the volume of such attacks and that the impact on victims can be life changing, the Committee considers it to be nothing less than a national crisis.”
The Committee went on to suggest that the lack of implementation of a dog control notice (DCN) database must be rectified, and that data on out of control dogs and dog attacks should be specifically linked to the number of DCNs that have been issued.
It did however say that it recognised the commitment of Police Scotland to make internal recommendations to ensure that police officers throughout Scotland had sufficient knowledge to respond to dog attacks effectively.
The report followed a push by NFU Scotland to do more to tackle the devastating impact of livestock worrying on farmers and crofters.
Speaking on the back of the report, NFUS head of policy Gemma Cooper said the union ‘fully endorsed’ its calls.
She said: “During our long-running work on the issue of livestock worrying, we have become aware of many of the issues which this report outlines, including the problems caused by the absence of a database for DCNs and a lack of resources for dog wardens in local authorities.
“Along with other issues outlined in the report, we believe that these are crucial components for properly dealing with the horrendous problems that our industry still suffers due to the blight of livestock worrying.”