Tuesday 22 September 2020

Minister brings users of electrified dog collars to heel, and gives cats a break too

Photo: Graham Dockery

Agriculture minister Carola Schouten is to ban electrified collars to train dogs from next year and will tackle unscrupuous cat breeders at the same time.

The collars are used to administer shocks to dogs from a distance but, the minister said in a letter to MPs, that they ‘cause considerable suffering’.

The defence department has stopped using the collars but some police dogs are still subjected to electric shocks.

Dog expert Martin Gaus said he was happy about the decision. ‘If a dog can’t be at home on its own or pulls at the lead, owners want to train it to behave. But if the animal can’t stand being alone it will get stressed. Zapping it with electricity will make it even more stressed out and miserable,’ he told broadcaster NOS.

Gaus is not in favour of a total ban because, he said, because electrified collars can help in training hunting dogs but only if done by experts.

The minister is also going to tackle cat breeders who, she said, are ‘creating new breeds without any thought to the consequences for the animal.’

‘This, to my thinking, shows a total disregard for the integrity, wellbeing and health of the animal,’ the minister said.

One of the victims of unbridled cat breeding is the Bambino Sphynx. A quarter of these hairless cats dies while still in the womb and the breed has very short legs and no whiskers which makes it difficult for the animals to orientate themselves.

The breed will still be allowed but will be subject to stringent breeding criteria and  unscrupulous breeders will be fined, NOS said.

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