Back in November, I reported on legislation banning shock collars in Wales. This week, BBC reports that a Welsh prosecutor named David Prosser became the first to successfully prosecute under the new legislation.
When Welsh legislators were first considering the ban, animal welfare groups such as the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and other organizations, including the Kennel Club, came out in support of the ban. These organizations called shock collars “cruel and unnecessary,” and pointed to shock collars’ potential to harm animals.
Others opposed the ban, claiming that the evidence and science did not demonstrate that shock collars harm animals, and arguing that shock collars are effective tools to protect and train animals.
In March 2010, the National Assembly for Wales unanimously passed legislation banning the use of any collar emitting an electronic shock for dogs and cats. A violation of the law is punishable by imprisonment and/or a fine.
After the law came into effect, Petsafe, Ltd, a pet product manufacturer, and the Electronic Collar Manufacturer Association challenged the law. But the High Court in Wales rejected their challenge and upheld the legislation in November 2010.
This week, a Welsh court convicted the first person of violating the shock collar ban. Phillip Pook owns a border collie who is a notorious fence climber and escape artist. Six months before the ban took effect, Pook bought a collar designed to emit an electronic shock if his dog approached a wall on his property. Pook claimed he did not know the law had changed, but the prosecution introduced evidence that Pook was warned about the new law. The court convicted Pook and sentenced him to a fine of £2000 (about $3200).
I’m glad to see a law that bans shock collars not only for training, but also for use with an electronic fence. And I am amazed and comforted to see that the Welsh legislators were unanimous in passing the ban. Currently, the UK and Scotland are considering similar legislation. The BBC reports that there are about 500,000 shock collars in the UK, with about 20,000 of those in Wales. If you would like to know how local jurisdictions treat shock collars, take a look at this post.