Locals in Dalkeith share their experiences of dog bites and attacks

St John's and King's Park Church, Dalkeith
St John's and King's Park Church, Dalkeith

People in Dalkeith shared their experiences of dog bites and attacks with their local MSP, as part of a Holyrood Committee’s examination of dog control laws.

The Scottish Parliament’s Public Audit and Post-Legislative Scrutiny Committee is currently examining the Control of Dogs (Scotland) Act 2010 and wants to hear directly from communities on how effective the law has been in reducing the number of out of control dogs.

As part of its inquiry, committee member Midlothian North MSP Colin Beattie (SNP) held a small focus group in St John’s and King’s Park Church, Dalkeith. Those who have been the victim of serious dog attacks, felt intimidated by out of control dogs, or own animals that have been attacked or killed by dogs, shared their thoughts on how this can be tackled.

The inquiry was prompted following concerns at the number of dog attacks in Scotland, with the number of people receiving treatment for dog bites rising from 1,939 in 2015 to 2,027 in 2016.

Mr Beattie said: “Our Committee wants to hear a wide range of views on whether the Control of Dogs Act is working as well as it should be.

“At the focus group, we heard that some individuals and families fear using their local parks and amenities where out of control dogs are known to frequent. We also know that dog attacks can often cause long-lasting damage to the victims, both physically and mentally.

“I would like to thank those in Dalkeith who shared their personal experiences with the committee.

“All of their comments will help to shape our work in examining the Act, and whether it should be strengthened to prevent dog attacks in the future.”