A man in Wales has been fined by magistrates for using a battery operated ‘shock’ collar in an attempt to train his border collie.
Philip Pool, of Ogmore-by-Sea in the Vale of Glamorgan, was ordered to pay £2,000 and an additional £1,000 costs for using the collar, which was outlawed in Wales in 2010.
The training device uses pain to train a dog, and administers an electric shock to the animal if it strays beyond a certain boundary. Although banned in Wales, the collars are legal in other areas of Britain, and it is estimated that half a million dog owners use them.
Mr Pook’s dog, Dougie, had been wearing the collar when he was found on a beach near his home by a couple. They delivered Dougie to charity The Dogs Trust, who traced his owner through his microchip.
Prosecutor David Prosser said:
“This is the first prosecution under the regulations for this type of collar. It operates like an electric fence, and if the dog approaches the boundaries or tries to escape it sends a shock. He didn’t accept that it was illegal because it’s legal in England. But this is the law as far as Wales is concerned.”
“Electric collars have now been outlawed in Wales and there’s no excuse for using them. I am under no doubt this would have caused the dog pain.”
In his defence, Mr Pook, 48, claimed that he did not know that the collars were illegal.
On its website, the ECMA (Electronic Collars Manufacturers Association) state that the collars cause no pain to dogs. It says:
“Mild static stimulation that your dog feels [is] designed to be undesirable so your dog will avoid it, yet is totally harmless and humane.”
However, the Kennel Club disputes this and welcomed the sentence. It said:
“Electric shock collars train dogs through pain and fear.”
“They are a cruel, outdated and unsuitable method of training dogs.”
In Wales, such a sentence can carry a maximum of 6 months in prison or a £20,000 fine, and politicians in Westminster will shortly being debating their use in the rest of the UK.
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