Dangerous dogs summit set for 2014, says Salmond

Alex Salmond has confirmed the summit will take place next year. Picture: Contributed
Alex Salmond has confirmed the summit will take place next year. Picture: Contributed
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A SUMMIT on dangerous dogs will be held in the new year to look into further measures to protect the public, the First Minister has said.

Alex Salmond announced the event after meeting with the parents of three child victims at Holyrood.

The summit will bring together local authorities, Cosla, Police Scotland, prosecutors and victims’ groups, and will establish what more can be done to protect the public through the use of existing powers and what further measures may be needed, including support for victims and their families.

Mr Salmond also confirmed that the Scottish Government will launch its public consultation on compulsory micro-chipping of all dogs later this month. The consultation will also seek views on other measures to promote responsible dog ownership.

The First Minister met with the parents of Broagan McCuaig, eight, who was severely injured by American bulldogs earlier this year, and four-year-old Sophia Bell, who was attacked by a dog in July.

Campaigner Veronica Lynch, who lost her daughter Kellie, 11, in an attack in 1989, was also at the meeting.

Mr Salmond said: “I was grateful for the opportunity to hear directly from the parents of children who were attacked by dangerous dogs, and the ongoing effect this has on their families.

“One dangerous dog attack is one too many and it is clear that the scars are both physical and emotional.

“Dog owners must take full responsibility to control their dogs. We have long-standing laws in place to help protect members of the public from dangerous dogs, and as First Minister I fully support police, prosecutors and courts in holding owners to account where the law has been breached.”

He added: “There are very many responsible dog owners in Scotland, and a public consultation will launch this month on compulsory micro-chipping of all dogs as well as seeking views on measures to improve dog ownership.

“Micro-chipping will make owners directly accountable for their dog’s behaviour. We will also hold a summit on dangerous dogs in the new year to discuss legislation and victim support.”

Legislation which came into force in 2011 permits councils to impose dog control notices, which can place a number of conditions on owners, including muzzling the dog, keeping it on a lead, neutering and training courses.

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill has written to all local authorities asking for information about the implementation of dog control notices across Scotland and whether it is proving effective.

“While we have strict measures in place to deal with dangerous dogs, the Scottish Government is more than willing to explore ways to improve procedures to keep our children and communities safe,” said Mr Salmond.

“Having heard the experiences, I am clear we must always seek to consider whether more can be done to ensure people are properly protected.”