San Francisco May Be Very first U.S. Town to Ban Doggy Shock Collars

San Francisco May Be Very first U.S. Town to Ban Doggy Shock Collars


San Francisco might turn into the 1st metropolis in the nation to ban canine shock collars—but the information has divided the area canine group. 

Previous fall, SF puppy trainers and animal welfare advocates proposed a shock collar ban for the city of San Francisco, the initially of its type for a main metropolitan region. These e-collars use what is termed “static correction” to deal with dogs’ damaging behaviors, and are frequently referred as “shock collars” since they teach canines by zapping them with varying ranges of energy or vibrations. 

The proposed ban has presently garnered common assist from regional animal welfare advocates—including the area Modern society for the Avoidance of Cruelty to Animals, SF Animal Treatment and Handle (SFACC) and the city’s Guild of Qualified Puppy Walkers—many of whom declare that the e-collars may perhaps basically be counterintuitive to schooling targets and can induce undue psychological trauma to your pet. 

Pet dog house owners and their off-leash dogs take pleasure in Golden Gate Pet Park. | Juliana Yamada/The Common

Guidance for the Ban Mounting

Area doggy trainers have started ShockFree SF, a grassroots marketing campaign committed to finding the sale and distribution of e-collars banned from the metropolis, and to also forbidding their use by trainers and puppy house owners alike. Founders Ren Volpe and LT Taylor, the two animal conduct authorities and trainers, aim to educate San Franciscans about means to practice their animals safely and securely and in accordance to the most up-to-date science. 

“San Francisco has generally been at the vanguard of animal welfare reform, from the SF SPCA’s start of the no-get rid of movement in 1994 to getting the first key U.S. city to ban the declawing of cats in 2009,” wrote Volpe. “This is not some extremist animal rights situation: A lot of notable and respected corporations, from the U.S. Humane Modern society to the American Veterinary Clinical Affiliation, concur that shock collars have no location in modern day doggy schooling.” 

In accordance to ShockFree SF’s draft ordinance, veterinarians and behaviorists mainly denounce these “aversive” coaching strategies, which they say can lead to dogs to “suppress or mask their outward indications of fear,” reversing the intended objectives of their use—and generally resulting in canine that battle with aggression to turn out to be a lot more outwardly risky. 

Advocates for the ban in its place insist that favourable reinforcement can address any dog’s behavioral problems, regardless of their severity. 

“SFACC does not regulate puppy education however, there is a lot of science to support our belief that good reinforcement is the best way to have a harmless and delighted partnership with your canine companion,” stated SFACC Executive Director Virginia Donohue. 

A puppy named Louie sits, leashed, in a knitted sweater at a market place in Hessen, Frankfurt. | Frank Rumpenhorst/Picture Alliance by way of Getty Pictures

If San Francisco legislators decide to go ahead with this movement, it would be the initially metropolis in the country to do so—despite many nationwide efforts from animal welfare advocates to enact even further limits and polices on static correction. 

Petco announced in 2020 that it would ban the sale of electronic shock collars, positioning alone as a “health and wellness company for pets” that champions constructive reinforcement coaching. Legislators in New York state have also proposed comparable legislation that claims to ban the sale or distribution of shock collars. Volpe states that several countries have banned shock collars, soon after Germany began the development in 2006.      

And it is not just animal welfare on the line organizers see their motion as an extension of San Francisco’s famous social justice undercurrents, as perfectly as its status as a town obsessed with its canine buddies. 

“St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of San Francisco and all animals, thought that animals are not subjects to be dominated, exploited or abused,” wrote ShockFree SF advocates in their draft ordinance. “As the 1st city in the nation to ban the use of e-collars, San Francisco lives up to our tradition as a frontier of justice, legal rights for all and progressive tips.”

Shock Collar Advocates Disagree 

Even though rescues, animal welfare companies and pet dog walkers across SF back the laws, some others experience shock collars are safe and sound when utilized the right way. 

Critics of e-collar bans say that shock-free of charge advocates essentially do not recognize how static correction is effective, and that a ban would take absent an priceless schooling source for doggy homeowners with specifically stubborn animals. 

“We help static correction employed adequately,” explained Jennifer Joyce, president of SpotOn Fence, a static correction fencing company. “Under the way of individuals who’ve been properly trained, who know how to use it in a good way, it can be an effective instruction resource and an powerful way of schooling dogs that have behavioral problems.” 

Joyce suggests that there is a basic misunderstanding of how shock collars need to be—and are—used, main to blanket ban laws like the one proposed in SF. Fairly, advocates of static correction say that rigorous schooling is necessary with these e-collars, and that they are not meant to be utilised often to cruelly shock or startle a pet dog. 

“The point is not to inflict pain, the point is for the collar to supply a a little bit uncomfortable experience that definitely stops the fixation on whatever is luring them, whichever is distracting them or producing them to be reactive,” Joyce stated. 

Dogs putting on e-collars engage in with a ball. | Courtesy SpotOn Fences

Advocates for e-collars say that painful shocks are not often at any time made use of, and that other extra light static correction techniques like collar vibrations exist to ease canines into these education equipment. 

Yet, shock-totally free advocates vehemently refute these statements, and the two supporters and critics of shock collars agree that there are little to no regulations bordering them—such as demanded education or high-quality control—that may possibly cut down the probabilities of an operator misusing or abusing static correction resources. 

Upcoming Actions for Shock Collars in SF 

In spite of some opposition from area e-collar advocates, the shock-totally free movement has currently received traction in San Francisco. 

In October, SF’s Commission of Animal Control and Welfare voted to guidance a proposed shock collar ban, after assembly with ShockFree representatives. Neighborhood pet retailers also made the decision to quit selling shock collars, nicely prior to the opportunity ban was introduced and in line with Petco’s stance on static correction. 

“The Commission agrees with [ShockFree SF representatives] that the practice of administrating animal training via discomfort is inconsistent with our City’s values of dealing with all everyday living with kindness,” wrote the SF Animal Command and Welfare Commissioners in a letter to District 5 Supervisor Dean Preston. 

ShockFree co-sales opportunities Volpe and Taylor say that more legislative efforts are on the horizon, which includes developing assist for a statewide bill to demand dog trainers to give “informed shopper consent,” or very clear info about the pitfalls and benefits of teaching procedures. 

The upcoming phase? Organizers need to have to locate a city supervisor to sponsor the bill, and the Board of Supervisors has to vote to enact the legislation.