Shock collars for dog training have been around for decades. When they began to gain in popularity in the 1970s, there were FDA attempts to recall them. Recently, there’s been a movement to ban them in Canada. In the states, there are occasional animal cruelty cases brought upon those who use them; in June, a woman in Mahopac, NY, was charged after it was found that her pitbull’s shock collar had become permanently embedded in his neck.
Last year, they were outlawed in Wales. This week, the country prosecuted its first offender, fining him $3000 for using one on his pet collie.
Earlier this month Bryan Lynn of OutDoorLife.com’s Gun Dog blog wrote a piece defending the use of shock collars on dogs. The post was a response to Gizmodo’s relaying my shock at the news that the GPS maker Garmin was buying a top American shock collar manufacturer, in what seems to be an effort to beef up their own line of shock-collars. As an animal trainer, I’m dismayed that tons of dog owners and trainers continue to use these modern-day torture devices when there are so many other tools that are available to us.
However, as Brian Lynn points out, I really don’t know much about hunting and I’ve never received any kind of professional instruction on using electric collars. Also, as a non-vegetarian making a case for animal rights, I would go so far as to label myself a hypocrite. Here I am treating my little poodle mix like a baby doll while I pick at a plate of fried bacon.
So, I’d like to abandon any kind of animal rights argument in favor of this one: Shock collars can be dangerous to people. A common retort that people often have to shock collars is: Would you treat your child that way? Yes, apparently some people would. YouTube hosts literally hundreds of people shocking themselves (and sometimes their children) with electric collars made for dogs.
Makes me wonder about all the dark things people are doing with shock collars to each other in situations that aren’t fit for YouTube primetime.
(Read the full post on Motherboard.TV)