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(Updated 17/4/01)

SKC gives evidence to the Scottish Parliament on dog identification

CONTRARY TO recent reports, The Scottish Kennel Club was fully aware of the consultation process initiated by the Scottish Parliament on the report produced by the Dog Identification Group on a possible voluntary scheme for England.

At a meeting of the Parliament's Local Government Committee on 4 April, Secretary General, Allan Sim, presented the views of The Scottish Kennel Club on the possible application of a scheme of dog identification in Scotland. A summary of these views is noted below.

Other bodies gave evidence, including the SSPCA and Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home, both of whom use the Petlog micro-chipping system promoted by The Kennel Club.

Apart from some close questioning on the evidence presented on dog identification, the Committee showed particular interest in the comments on general canine legislation and the devolved responsibility of the Parliament.

The Scottish Kennel Club Dog Identification Group Consultation Process

Notes on Evidence to the Local Government Committee, The Scottish Parliament

About The Scottish Kennel Club

. Open Club with around 2,500 members

. Objects are to Promote and Encourage the Improvement and Well-being of Dogs; hold dog shows and other canine events; and promote education, study and research on canine matters.

. Additional Object of Exercising the Powers and Duties of The Kennel Club in London in Scotland; this principally entails licensing all dog shows in Scotland and providing an advisory service on The Kennel Club Registration System, Good Citizen Dog Scheme, etc.

. Two major championship dog shows held each year at Ingliston Showground, incorporating agility, obedience, canine demonstrations, etc.

. Operation of a Breeders' Register, which is the pre-eminent source of puppies, stud dogs and adult dogs in Scotland. Integrity maintained by means of a declaration signed by all breeders.

DIG Recommendations

1. SKC works closely with the KC and therefore broadly supports the Recommendations.

2. No obvious reason why the Recommendations should not be adopted for Scotland, although it may be considered that the stray problem in Scotland has been considerably reduced by the efficiency of the dog warden scheme.

3. There would be considerable merit in adopting a UK approach to this matter.

. Systems - Permanent Identification is supported, and has been promoted through a micro-chipping clinic at our championship show since its institution. Both micro-chipping and tattooing are supported.

. Databases - an industry standard is essential to the operation of an efficient system. SKC is familiar with the Petlog system, which is used by the SSPCA and others in Scotland for microchipping. If a separate system/database was required for Scotland, SKC would envisage that a version of the Petlog system could readily be adopted.

. Voluntary/Compulsory - a compulsory system is unlikely to be any more successful than the collar and tag requirements but it is right to place an initial time-scale on a voluntary system.

. Targets - the 75% target is viewed as ambitious but any less would indicate a lack of confidence in the likely success of a voluntary scheme.

. Effects on enforcement bodies - agreed these will be minimal (police and dog wardens only)

. Education - whether system is voluntary or compulsory, it will not work without a related education programme; SKC willing to use its wide channels of communication and its close working relationship with SSPCA, Canine Concern (Scotland), etc. to assist in this.

. Continuation of Group - it may be considered that some form of Advisory body should be set up in Scotland to operate in parallel with DIG. SKC would wish to be involved in this and offer administrative/secretarial back up - similar to that provided by KC.

Additional Points:

. Cost - important that the cost is kept to reasonable level not only for disadvantaged but to ensure success of voluntary system. Dog ownership is expensive and there will be price resistance.

. Availability of Readers - these must be widely available and readily accessible.

. Relationship to Other Legislation - in considering the possibility of a compulsory scheme, the Scottish Parliament should be aware of the many different pieces of legislation, existing and proposed, which impact on dog ownership in Scotland. It is further understood that, apart from one piece of legislation (Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986), there is devolved responsibility for all animal welfare and specific canine-related legislation such as the Dangerous Dogs Act.

IAS