The Control of Dogs (Scotland) Act 2010 promotes responsible dog ownership and ensures that dogs that are out of control are brought and kept under control. It also seeks to prevent dogs from becoming dangerous in order to help reduce, and prevent future dog attacks. Under the Act, Scottish local authorities have the power to take action against irresponsible dog owners and enforce measures to improve such behaviour.
How does it work in practice?
We will investigate and record reports received involving dogs that are out of control. An authorised officer will carry out an investigation and if they identify that the dog is out of control, the owner will be either offered advice, issued a warning letter, or have a dog control notice (DCN) served on them.
When is a dog ‘out of control'?
Under the definition of the Act, a dog is deemed to be ‘out of control’ if:
- it is not being kept under control effectively and consistently (by whatever means) by the owner who is in charge of the dog;
- its behaviour gives rise to alarm or apprehensiveness on the part of any individual (and the individual’s alarm or apprehensiveness is reasonable).
Apprehensiveness may be in relation to the individual's own safety, the safety of another person, or the safety of an animal other than the dog in question.
The definition of ‘out of control ‘is written so that both parts of the test must be met in order for an authorised officer to be able to serve a DCN.
What is a dog control notice?
A dog control notice (DCN) is a notice which places conditions on the owner to keep their dog under control and keep others safe by aiming to prevent further incidents.
It may include (but is not limited to) conditions such as:
- keeping the dog on a lead in public;
- muzzling the dog in public;
- neutering, and
- attending and completing suitable dog training courses.
All dogs which are subject to a DCN must be microchipped and registered within 14 days of issue, if not already microchipped.
In line with guidance from the Scottish Government, we will not notify complainants of any restrictions placed on a dog once a decision is made to issue a DCN.
Once a DCN has been issued, our dog wardens will monitor to check that the owner is complying with it. Failing to comply with a DCN is an offence under the Act and may result in the matter being reported to the procurator fiscal and ultimately a fine of up to £1000 and/or being disqualified from keeping a dog. The sheriff may also order that the dog should be destroyed.
What to do if you see a dog out of control
Dog control officers are responsible for dealing with out of control dog complaints and can be contacted by:
If a dog is dangerously out of control in any place (for example, bites or attempts to bite a person or seriously injures or kills another animal) this should be reported immediately to the Police by calling 101. Back To Top