Call to ban sale of 'cruel' electric shock collars for dogs

An electric shock collar
An electric shock collar
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Campaigners are calling for a ban on the sale of electric shock collars which are used to deliver a painful jolt to dogs to correct their behaviour.

Polling for the Dogs Trust found almost a third of people (31%) wrongly thought that the collars, which can continuously shock a dog for 11 seconds, were already banned.

The devices cause dogs to yelp, squeal, crouch and exhibit physiological signs of distress, and, despite being sold to improve the way dogs behave, they can worsen the animal's behaviour, the charity said.

The poll of 2,067 adults by Populus also found that 84% knew they caused pain and 83% of dog owners would not use them.

Their use has been banned in Wales, and Scotland has also made moves towards prohibiting dog owners using them, but only the UK Government can ban their sale across the country.

The Dogs Trust has launched a #Shockinglylegal campaign, calling on the Government to ban their sale and urging people to tweet their MP to demand they support the move.

The organisation is also holding a reception in the House of Commons, where they will ask MPs to sign a letter to Environment Secretary Michael Gove backing a ban.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who has compared the shock collars to caning a child, is among the MPs and peers already pledging support.

Rachel Casey, director of canine behaviour and research at the Dogs Trust, said the charity was "appalled" that it was still legal to buy and use electric shock collars in England.

She said: "It is both unnecessary and cruel to resort to the use of these collars on dogs.

"This type of device is not only painful for a dog, it can have a serious negative impact on their mental and physical well-being.

"A dog can't understand when or why it's being shocked and this can cause it immense distress, with many dogs exhibiting signs of anxiety and worsened behaviour as a result."

She said positive methods such as using food rewards were the most effective and kindest way of training dogs.

"We urge everyone who loves dogs to consider the impact that using these kinds of devices can have on our four-legged friends, and join with us in asking your MP for an immediate ban on their sale and their use."

Shadow environment secretary Sue Hayman said: "Last week, Labour set out our animal welfare plan, a vision where no animal is made to suffer unnecessary pain and degradation, and where we continue to drive up standards of animal welfare in line with the most recent advances and understanding.

"That's why Labour is consulting on banning the use, sale and importation of animal shock collars in England, following the lead of both Wales and Scotland."