Steep rise in dangerous dog probes

Investigations into dangerous dogs in Scotland almost doubled in the space of a year, council figures show.

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There were 2,080 local authority investigations in 2012/13 compared to 1,114 the year before, figures obtained by the Conservatives show.

The number of dog control notices increased from 92 to 147 in that period.

The most investigations took place in Aberdeen (317), followed by West Lothian (214) and Aberdeenshire (198).

Other local authorities, such as East Renfrewshire and Inverclyde, had very few investigations.

First Minister Alex Salmond has taken a keen interest in the effectiveness of dog controls.

He met the parents of eight-year-old dog attack victim Broagan McCuiag and other families last month, has launched a dog control consultation and summit, and made a rare appearance at a Labour-led member's debate on dog controls earlier this month.

Proposals for compulsory microchipping of dogs and the reintroduction of licensing with restrictions on ownership have also found favour with community safety minister Roseanna Cunningham, who was bitten on the face by a dachshund as a child.

The latest figures on dog investigations and control notices were compiled by local authorities and released by Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill following a parliamentary question by Conservative MSP Nanette Milne.

Ms Milne said: "Last year was a particularly bad one for dog attacks in Scotland, with a number of high-profile cases right across the country.

"The fact these investigations have increased shows you just how concerned the public is about this serious issue.

"However, it is worrying that some councils appear to be treating this as a priority while others are paying hardly any attention to the matter.

"I'm glad the Scottish Government is taking some action on this by way of a summit.

"But what we really need to do is target these puppy farms where dangerous dogs are being illegally bred and given no kind of controlled upbringing whatsoever.

"The breeding and control of dogs in socially-rented properties also has to be addressed by local authorities as a matter of urgency."

Local government

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