21 Feb 2019
A review into Scotland’s dog control laws was held at Holyrood on Thursday 21 February 2019 as a result of Radio Clyde’s ‘Lead The Way’ campaign.
MSPs heard from a range of experts as well as Radio Clyde’s Broadcast Journalist Natalie Crawford who initiated the campaign which highlighted that thousands* of children in Glasgow and the west have been viciously attacked by animals over the last three years.
Holyrood’s Post-Legislative and Public Scrutiny committee also heard from Doctor Judy Evans from the Royal College of Surgeons, as well as the parents of two youngsters who were attacked by dogs.
The Committee will now consider the evidence and decide what recommendations to make to the Scottish Government. This could include a change in legislation or a complete overhaul.
Natalie Crawford, Broadcast Journalist at Radio Clyde, said: “This is an important day for the ‘Lead the Way’ campaign and the whole team at Radio Clyde is proud that our work has highlighted this important issue and that dog control laws are now being reviewed.
“The campaign has been eye-opening as we have uncovered the scale of the issue and the number of children who have badly injured and even killed by dogs. It is a privilege to be asked to be on the panel and to share our findings with the committee.”
Public Audit and Post-Legislative Scrutiny Committee Convener, Jenny Marra MSP, said: “Our Committee will hear evidence from a couple who lost their daughter to a violent dog attack, and from parents whose children have been injured and scarred by out of control dogs.
“The serious impact of such attacks on individuals and their families demonstrates the need for effective legislation in this field. The Committee’s job is to consider the current law and whether and how it should be strengthened.”
Doctor Judy Evans of the Royal College of Surgeons, said: ““The emotional trauma can be so difficult to deal with because it’s on-going. They have to deal with the trauma of the attack and of the constant operations to repair the damage.
“I have seen young children who have had massive bite marks and scarring to their face. I have seen tearing of the flesh. It can be so tricky to repair this sort of damage. There’s also a massive risk of infection because of the nature of the injury.
“It’s something that happens in bursts – we especially expect to see these sort of attacks around holidays, when children are most likely to be outside.”
The Parliamentary Committee also heard from Claire Booth whose son Ryan was attacked in 2015. He was six years-old at the time of the attack and has undergone five surgeries to repair damage to his ear, which was ripped off in the attack.
Claire said: “It is so important that dog control laws are changed as I don’t want anyone else to have to go through what our family has over the last few years.
“It’s been an emotional rollercoaster. Ryan in appearance is doing really well but he has a disfigurement. He is terrified of dogs now and I have experienced a lot of emotional trauma as a result of watching these two dogs maul my son. I’ve had flashbacks and I’ve been treated for PTSD.
“I thought the two dogs were going to kill him and it has been an emotional rollercoaster. Ryan is doing well but he has a disfigurement and he is terrified of dogs now. I have also had a lot of emotional trauma and been treated for PTSD.”
Pictured: Natalie Crawford, Broadcast Journalist at Radio Clyde.