Two years after the Environment Department promised to look into the issue, Jersey Force Free Animal Professionals are calling on the Island to finally ban the training devices, which are about to be outlawed in Scotland.
Rosie Barclay, a member of the group, said that the only way to ensure the welfare of dogs in the Island was to ban the sale and use of electric shock collars and prong collars – which are used to punish animals by administering electric shocks or stabbing prongs into their necks. Some models are remote controlled, with others activated by pulling on the dog’s lead.
‘People who use them tend to keep it very quiet, but we know there are some dog trainers in Jersey that have them,’ she said.
‘They have even been used on puppies. There is no need for these collars – there are plenty of kinder alternatives to train dogs.’
Mrs Barclay, who has been a certified clinical animal behaviourist for more than ten years, said that the ‘cruel’ collars were in contravention of Jersey’s Dog Training Welfare Code and that it was time that they were officially consigned to history.' We want to educate people and raise awareness that there are positive ways of training your dog which are force free,’ she said.
‘We no longer use the cane on our children or lock them in cupboards, so why would we treat our dogs like this?’
While the JFFAP do not think that electric and prong collars are widespread in Jersey, they want the States to follow through with a commitment to examine the law – after Environment Minister Steve Luce said two years ago that he would look into it. At the time, there was a public outcry when it was reported that someone in Jersey had been using a prong collar – which features spikes on the inside of the collar – and a petition to ban them was signed by more than 2,000 people. Mrs Barclay also wants the ban to include ‘electric fences’, which administer electric shocks to dogs when they stray from a certain area, such as a garden.
‘Scotland is just about to ban them, Wales has already done so and the UK are looking into it,’ Mrs Barclay said.
‘It is a good time for Jersey to also change the law. It would be a great move for the general welfare of dogs and a real step forward. There is no scientific evidence to suggest that these collars are a long-term solution. Psychological damage can be caused to a dog if it is repeatedly shocked, leaving it confused and very scared. The fear of being shocked can be very upsetting.
‘We would be very grateful to the Environment Department if they could ban them because it is still an issue in Jersey and it is time to change the law.’