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Society raises doubts over plans to microchip and muzzle all dogs

31 March 2014 | tagged News release

The Law Society of Scotland has today questioned the practicality and proportionality of the Scottish Government's proposals to introduce micro chipping of dogs in Scotland.

The consultation proposes to introduce compulsory micro chipping and muzzling of dogs when they are in a public place, as well as the introduction of a dog licence.

Archie Maciver, Convener of the Society's Licensing Law Sub-Committee, said: "We welcome any measure which aims to both improve dog welfare and responsible ownership in order to improve public safety and prevent dog attacks. We do question however whether or not the compulsory micro chipping of dogs would have the desired effect of reuniting lost, stolen or stray dogs with their owners, as the dog owner would be responsible for keeping the microchip details accurate and up to date. There is an obvious concern here when the dog owner changes address, as well as the costs of financing a national database."

Mr Maciver continued: "The other consideration to bear in mind is that of how a system of dog licensing would impact on local authorities if they were given responsibility for its administration. The consultation paper states that a condition of buying a dog licence could be to ensure that dog owners were competent in the handling of dogs, but we would certainly anticipate difficulties around how such a 'fit and proper test' can be established.

"We would also question the proportionality and practicality of the proposal to muzzle all dogs while they are in a public place. Recent cases which we have all seen in the media have frequently involved attacks which have happened in the home, so these current proposals would not have prevented these tragic events happening as there is no suggestion that dogs be muzzled within the dog owners' private property. "


Notes to editors

The consultation closes today and the Society's full response can be found on the Society's website.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: Please contact Louise Docherty on 0131 476 8204 or Val McEwan on 0131 226 8884

Email: or

31 March 2014

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