Shock collar ban enforced in Wales with hefty fine for owner

A dog owner in Wales was today fined £2000 plus ordered to pay another £1000 in court costs (almost $5000) for using a shock collar on his dog.

Shock collars (e-collars) were banned by the Welsh Assembly in March last year. The owner, Philip Pook, used the collar to contain the dog within the boundaries of his home, magistrates were told. Pook claimed he had not realised the collars were illegal in Wales.

Dougie, the collie in question, was found wandering a beach near his home in Ogmore-by-Sea, wearing the illegal collar. It appears that the dog had still escaped over the boundary wall at the home even though it was wearing the very collar intended to prevent such an escape. Magistrates were also told that the dog had a local reputation for escaping beyond the shock boundary and was well-known as 'the dog with the shock collar'.

BBC Radio 2 interviewed a shock collar manufacturer, whose use of the word 'stimulation' to describe the shock was quickly discredited by an impassioned plea from a caller who had witnessed her own dog caught on a shock collar boundary. The caller's husband had installed the fencing and collar whilst she was away. As she returned she said she was horrified to see her joyful dog approaching her and suddenly yelping, panicking and receiving repeated shocks. She insisted her husband wear the collar on his arm so he could feel what it was like. You can listen to Maureen's point of view here - I am delighted to have tracked her down and will be interviewing her for my own WildPaw podcast very soon.

Although shock collars are still legal in England and Scotland, their use and legality is to be debated in Parliament in both countries. An RSPCA Inspector commented that the collars were "barbaric devices" and the UK's Kennel Club called them "a cruel, outdated, and unsuitable method of training dogs".

The Welsh ban, and this subsequent prosecution, sends a harsh warning. Owners caught using the device actually can face fines of up to £20,000 or even six month imprisonment.

There are so many ways to train a dog without harshness; what a shame there has to be a law about it, when really, compassion and understanding should be prevention enough.

 

Karen Wild BA(Hons) Dip App Psy www.karenwild.co.uk (blog at www.intellidogs.com/blog)

Source (accessed 20/7/11) - BBC News (Wales)