April 1, 2011
This week on Dog Tails, we want to bring to your attention a recent controversial decision concerning electronic radio collars (e-collars) for dogs and cats. These radio collars (often mistakenly referred to as ‘electric’ collars) are widely used worldwide for pet training and containment. None-the-less, all e-collars have been banned for any purpose in Wales (see map), including for use with hidden underground fences. In addition to voicing our objection to such a blanket ban, we want to alert you to the possibility of this ban spreading to England, Wales’ neighbor to the east.
What was a debate between individual dog owners about whether to use electronic collars became political when the Welsh Assembly – supported by several animal rights groups – banned the collars outright. The ban went into effect one week ago (March 24, 2010). Punishments for noncompliance include fines of up to 20,000 pounds (approximately $32,000) and six months in prison. There is now talk of introducing a similar ban in England.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), who support the ban, argue that there is “no place for shock collars in modern animal training and recommended the use of reward-based methods instead.” Opponents argue that the ban will have a negative effects on a large portion of the dog and cat populations. (There were roughly 20,000 e-collars in use in Wales prior to the ban.) They point to the animals whose lives have been saved by pet containment systems, and aggressive dogs who benefited from e-collar training and as a result, kept their homes or found new ones. In passing the ban in Wales, the legislature seems to have largely ignored the positive aspects of e-collars, the safety features and the lack of evidence that e-collars cause either pain or harm when properly used.
As a company that specializes in pet containment systems, DogWatch Hidden Fences has a clear stake in this debate. Yet in addition to being professionals, we are also pet owners and pet lovers ourselves. We believe that electronic radio collars are a valuable and effective tool to help you keep your dog or cat safe, healthy and happy for life. Our hidden fence collars are designed not to inflict pain, but rather to protect pets from potentially life-threatening injuries caused by automobiles and other dangers when they leave their yards. Hidden fences allow your pet to run and play outdoors as they were born to do. We like nothing better than to see a dog or cat enjoying the freedom of roaming free in their backyard, sniffing and digging and rolling around to their heart’s content. Banning e-collars, especially for pet containment systems, will cause more harm than good.