Steps to Improve the Operational Effectiveness of the Control of Dogs (Scotland) Act 2010

Closed 31 Jan 2020

Opened 27 Sep 2019

Feedback updated 25 Jul 2022

We asked

The consultation sought views on practical measures to improve the operational effectiveness of the operation of the Control of Dogs (Scotland) Act 2010.

You said

336 responses were received to the consultation. In response to the consultation there was strong support for new enforcement powers. For example an ‘obstruction offence’, and more powers for local authorities that would enable dog wardens to consider and issue fixed penalty notices for a breach of a dog control notice (DCN). There was also strong support for a national DCN database.

We did

The views offered in response to the consultation are helping to shape and inform Scottish Government policy development decisions. For example, a national DCN database has now been established. The database brings together the records of DCNs served by local authorities into a centralised database, that is accessible by local authorities and Police Scotland. The Scottish Dog Control Database Order 2021 came into force on 31 December 2021 and provided for the establishment of the database. The database went live in early February 2022.

Results updated 29 Jun 2020

An analysis of the 336 received to the consultation.  The analysis provides details of responses to each question contained within the consultation.


Published responses

View submitted responses where consent has been given to publish the response.


In February 2011, the Control of Dogs (Scotland) Act 2010 (“the 2010 Act”) came into force.  This legislation was a Members’ Bill brought forward by Christine Grahame MSP which gave powers to local authorities to help control dogs within communities.  In particular, powers were granted to local authorities to be able to impose dog control notices (DCNs) on dog owners who allowed their dogs to be out of control.  A DCN contains a number of conditions aimed at requiring dog owners to take more responsibility for their dogs.

The regime introduced by the 2010 Act was intended to be preventative in that its aim was to help identify out of control dogs before they became dangerous so that the behaviour of the dog and the dog owner can be encouraged to change to help avoid future dog attacks occurring.

The use of this legislation has come under scrutiny since it was introduced.  As local authorities have become more used to using their powers under the 2010 Act, a number of issues have been raised about the operation of the legislation and this consultation is looking at how the operational enforcement of the 2010 Act may be improved.  

The areas covered within this consultation have all been raised over a period of time as being potential areas where changes may help local authorities and, where relevant, other enforcement agencies in helping keep communities safe from out of control dogs.

There are wider changes to dog control law which will also be considered in the longer-term in a separate review in 2020.  The focus of this consultation is on practical measures that may improve the operational effectiveness of the operation of the 2010 Act with some, though not all, capable of being progressed without new legislation.

In summary, the Scottish Government is committed to seeking to explore the necessary steps to allow local authorities deliver effective enforcement of the 2010 Act and help the 2010 Act legislative regime deliver on its intended purpose of helping prevent future dog attacks by enabling action to be taken against irresponsible dog owners before their dogs become dangerous.

Why your views matter

All of the comments received will be considered as potential changes in the areas discussed are assessed.

We are inviting responses to this consultation by 15 January 2020.

Read the consultation paper. 

What happens next

All of the responses to this consultation will be considered as next steps in each of the areas discussed are assessed.

There will be a further Scottish Government review looking at wider dog control legislation in 2020.  That review will give an opportunity for comments about other aspects of dog control legislation to be offered.


  • Law and Order