A CONCERNED councillor is hoping to stop the sale of “barbaric” pet collars after discovering a Brierley Hill based internet company has been selling the controversial training devices.

Councillor Rachel Harris, a Labour councillor for the Brierley Hill ward, was horrified to discover an internet seller trading as LuvMyDog Worldwide has been selling ‘pinch’ or ‘prong’ collars which are used to keep pets in check.

The RSPCA has condemned use of the spiked or pronged metal collars - which dig into a dog's neck if they pull on their lead - saying they are likely to “cause pain”.

But luvmydog.oc.uk, which is registered to a house in Hawbush Road, is selling a variety of different kinds of the devices which many animal lovers want to see banned.

Cllr Harris, who has branded the collars “barbaric”, said: “I’m very distressed we have got a business in the area selling this kind of product. These are very cruel.

“There are different methods by which you can train animals, we don’t need to use prong collars.”

Cllr Harris, a member of the Labour Animal Welfare Society, added: “These are the kind of training collars that people with fighting dogs use, I believe.”

The luvmydogwebsite says its Neck Tech Sport prong collar, priced £31.95, is suitable for short and long haired dogs and the design conceals the prongs making it “very discreet without the need for a nylon prong collar cover”.

Company director John Ward told the News prong collars should not be first choice training devices and they are “not necessary for the vast majority of dogs” but he said they can prove effective for pets having difficulty with other training methods.

He said: “They’re probably the most mis-understood piece of training equipment in the dog world.

“In the vast majority of Europe these collars are accepted as the norm, it tends to be in the UK where opinion is strongly divided. People who use them sing their praises and people who don’t use them tend to have the most criticism.

“Force free training methods don’t always work.”

He said critics “have obviously never been in charge of a big dog” and said many people “would be amazed to see how dogs respond to them”.

He added: “The sense of pressure is enough to stop the dog from pushing into the collar - from when the collar goes on to the dog reacting favourably is a matter of seconds.”

Mr Ward, who lives in Halesowen, said the collars are “designed to break the dog’s attention to bring focus back to the handler” - and they are often only used for a few weeks or months.

He described the devices as “incredibly popular” and says he’s sold thousands in the UK and overseas - including to many top dog trainers.

What he would like to see banned, he said, are head collars which he brands “the most brutal piece of equipment you can use”.

He said: “I’m very much against head collars. I don’t have issues with prong collars. We wouldn’t sell them if we thought they caused harm. These can genuinely help people.”

The RSPCA recommends positive reward based training over prong collars.

A spokesman for the animal welfare charity said: “The RSPCA believes no technical device should be used or offered for sale where an animal can be subjected to a painful stimulus at the direct instigation of a human or where a painful stimulus is delivered as a result of an animal’s action from which it cannot retreat.

“The use of punishment can make dogs fearful and anxious, leading to decreased confidence, over-excitement, fear, aggression, or a reluctance to try new behaviours for fear of correction, all of which can compromise the dog-owner relationship.”