The Scotish Parliament today approved their new dangerous dog law they've been calling "dog Asbos" in a unanimous decision. The new law gives councils greater power to impose penalties for owners of badly behaved dogs and will focus on "deed not breed". The law would replace several laws dealing with dogs in the country, including the Dangerous Dogs Act, which bans four breeds of dogs in Scotland.
Dog Asbos was proposed by MSP Alex Neil. In his proposal, he notes that the Dangerous Dogs Act was "difficult ot enforce and a huge drain on resources." "It is clear that a dog's breed is only one factor which may affect its behavior. Attempting to define the law purely in relation to breed has failed to protect the public."
The statistics support Neil. Over the past decade, Scotland has seen an over 150% increase in dog attacks.
"The key message is that any dog can show aggression, particularly if it is not handled and trained properly, so legislation that provides the tools to target irresponsible ownership before it becomes a problem is very welcome. The rest of the UK should now look at Scotland and replace the failed breed-specific legislation in England, Wales and Northern Ireland."
The law is not yet final, but seems on pace to be soon. Great work by the folks in Scotland in listening to the professional experts in their community and making changes to a clearly failing law.
H/T to Ryan O'Meara at Dog Magazine and his great coverage of this law.