Police and councils must do more to prevent dangerous dog attacks, Public Safety Minister Ash Denham has said.
During a debate on dog control legislation, Ms Denham claimed powers given to Police Scotland and councils had not been used consistently.
The debate comes after a report by Holyrood’s public audit committee found there were still too many dog attacks and concluded the Control of Dogs (Scotland) 2010 Act was “not fit for purpose”.
The report found there was a lack of consistent data on attacks and said there had been a “failure” to establish a Scottish dog control database.
It also said the act had not resulted in a decrease in dog attack victims needing treatment or prosecutions of owners.
Ms Denham said: “While the report rightly raised a number of issues relating to the legal framework, how independent enforcement agencies such as Police Scotland and local authorities use their powers is critical.
“I am afraid to say that the committee found a wide variation in the approach of different local authorities in the use of powers under the 2010 act.
“Some local authorities have barely issued any DCNs (Dog Control Notices) since the act came in and changes to legislation will make little difference if local authorities do not seek to use their powers.”
Earlier, public audit committee convener Jenny Marra paid tribute to parents whose children had been seriously injured or killed by dogs who had contributed to the report.
The Labour MSP said they had “listened in horror” as Claire Booth of Glasgow, whose son was attacked, and Dundee mother Lisa Grady described an attack on her daughter.
She added that MSPs were “humbled” as Dundee couple Veronica and John Lynch bravely spoke of the death of their 11-year-old daughter Kellie, who died after being attacked by two rottweilers 30 years ago.