This is a new website that we're testing. Please give us some feedback on our external survey.

Language: English / Gàidhlig

Skip to main content

Dogs (Protection of Livestock) (Amendment) (Scotland) Bill



This Member’s Bill was introduced by Emma Harper MSP. It amends the existing law on what is called “livestock worrying”, which is where a dog chases, attacks or kills farmed animals.

The Bill:

increases the maximum penalty to a fine of £5,000 or imprisonment for six months
allows the courts to ban a convicted person from owning a dog or allowing their dog to go on agricultural land
gives the police greater powers to investigate and enforce livestock worrying offence. This includes by going onto land to identify a dog, seize it and collect evidence from it
allows other organisations to be given similar powers
extends the “livestock worrying” offence to cover additional types of farmed animal


You can find out more in the document prepared on behalf of Emma Harper, MSP that explains the Bill.

Why the Bill was created


Dog attacks cause suffering to animals, cost farmers money and cause them distress.  Emma Harper MSP believes the current law is out of date and isn’t working effectively.  
She hopes that making these changes to the law will encourage people to keep their dogs under control.  Where attacks do occur, she hopes the Bill will make it easier for them to be investigated and the people responsible to be punished. 

You can find out more in the document prepared on behalf of Emma Harper, MSP that explains the Bill.

Where do laws come from?

The Scottish Parliament can make decisions about many things like:

  • agriculture and fisheries
  • education and training
  • environment
  • health and social services
  • housing
  • justice and policing
  • local government
  • some aspects of tax and social security

These are 'devolved matters'.

Laws that are decided by the Scottish Parliament come from:

Bill stage timeline

The Dogs (Protection of Livestock) (Amendment) (Scotland) Bill is currently at Stage 1


The Member in charge of the Bill, Emma Harper MSP sends the Bill and related documents to the Parliament.

Bill as introduced Dogs (Protection of Livestock) (Amendment) (Scotland) Bill

Financial Resolution

The Presiding Officer has decided under Rule 9.12 of Standing Orders that a financial resolution is not required for this Bill.

Stage 1 - General principles

Committees examine the Bill. Then MSPs vote on whether it should continue to Stage 2.

Have your say

The deadline for sharing your views is 28 August 2020.

Committees involved in this Bill

Who examined the Bill

Each Bill is examined by a 'lead committee'. This is the committee that has the subject of the Bill in its remit.

It looks at everything to do with the Bill.

Other committees may look at certain parts of the Bill if it covers subjects they deal with.

What is secondary legislation?

Secondary legislation is sometimes called 'subordinate' or 'delegated' legislation. It can be used to:

  • bring a section or sections of a law that’s already been passed, into force
  • give details of how a law will be applied
  • make changes to the law without a new Act having to be passed

An Act is a Bill that’s been approved by Parliament and given Royal Assent (formally approved).

Share this page