With respect to the letter from Alasdair Galloway (Letters, September 18) detailing the fact that banning certain dog breeds is not the panacea for solving the issue of dog attacks and that the responsibility lies with the irresponsible owners of dogs, I agree with his input but would also add that the authorities also have a huge part to play.

The Dangerous Dog Act of 1991 states that if a dog injures a person the owners receive a sentence of up to five years in prison, and if the dog kills a person a sentence of up to 14 years can be given.

I believe that the law is not being upheld by the authorities forcefully enough and that the correct application and use of the act would be a powerful deterrent to irresponsible dog owners.

Douglas Eadie, Alexandria

The barrier to council tax reform

Until there is an all-party consensus, no political party will risk the necessary property revaluation to ensure a fairer council tax, particularly when many householders are facing higher mortgage costs due to Westminster’s failed economic policies.

However, there is a lot of political mischief surrounding the Scottish Government and Cosla’s council tax consultation. The Band D council tax rate is set by the local authority in Scotland and the average 2023-24 Band D rate (£1,417) is £648 less than in England (£2,065), and £463 less than in Wales (£1,879). Also, any proposed increases would be phased in over three years. In addition, around 380,660 households, some 15% of all households, qualify for the council tax reduction scheme and have a council tax bill that is reduced to zero.

Jane Anne Liston (Letters, September 19) fails to mention that the Lib Dems abandoned their long-held belief in a fairer local income tax and failed to introduce an alternative to the council tax during their disastrous coalition with the Tories between 2010 and 2015.

Like the Scottish Government, which under devolution doesn’t have a basket of different tax revenues, local councils are suffering from UK inflation since Brexit and much higher energy prices compared to most other countries in Europe, but still having to make expensive PFI repayments forced on them by the last Labour/ Lib Dem Scottish Executive.

Mary Thomas, Edinburgh

UK must be more resilient on climate

Does it matter if a changing climate is caused by mankind or by Mother Nature? After all, more than 70 countries which are responsible for 80% of greenhouse gases have already broken their COP promises and are ramping up their consumption of coal, gas and other fossil fuels to provide cheap electricity to drive their economies.

Thus if mankind is responsible for warming then these countries are making it happen and the UK with only one per cent of global emissions cannot prevent it. Instead of wasting at least £3 trillion on UK Net Zero 2050, the UK should instead use this money on making the UK more resilient to the effects of a changing climate.

These include building coastal and river flood defences to tackle rising sea levels, preventing sewage overflows, building desalination plants, preventing river water going out to sea, no housing or commercial developments on flood plains and ensuring our food supply does not rely on unfriendly nations. No more solar farms should be built on agricultural land.

Clark Cross, Linlithgow

Do robots have the answer?

In the ongoing debate around the Assisted Dying Bill currently before Holyrood, it occurs to me that in our age of Artificial Intelligence (AI), it would be theoretically and indeed practically possible to remove human agency entirely from any end of life procedure, which could be undertaken by robots, thus obviating any requirement for new legislation.

It is after all not against the law to end one’s own life, merely to assist another so to do. The terminally ill patient, should he or she so choose, would instruct the robot to conduct a home visit, arriving by driverless car, to administer a lethal cocktail. I don’t mean to be facetious about this, far less vexatious. Robotic surgeons already carry out operations far more complex than this.

Of course there would be a flurry of parliamentary activity as our MSPs practised catch-up legislation. Doubtless it already exists in draft form. The science fiction author Isaac Asimov introduced the Three Laws of Robotics in his 1942 short story Runaround (part of the 1950 collection I, Robot), presented in the fictional Handbook of Robotics, 56th Edition, 2058 A.D. The laws are:

1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

2. A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders could conflict with the First Law.

3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

To these three laws, Asimov subsequently and retrospectively added a Zeroth Law:

0. A robot may not harm humanity, or, by inaction, allow humanity to come to harm.

The ethical issue that arises is whether or not the termination of a life deemed intolerable by the person living it constitutes a “harm”. It is said that if you chance to see a distressed individual in a railway station about to fall in front of an approaching train, a useful question to ask is, “Is it living, or the pain that you want to stop?” I can’t say I would relish AI moving into the field of thanatology, which sounds like something out of a dystopian novel by Aldous Huxley, but at least the medical and nursing professions could keep their distance, and concentrate on the day job.

Dr Hamish Maclaren, Thornhill

Hostile environment for cyclists

Kevin McKenna's comments on cyclists (The Herald, September 17) are a disgrace. He suggests brake-checking cyclists which is not only illegal, but extremely dangerous for the cyclist and likely to lead to serious injury. Please don't tell me this was meant as a "joke". The roads are hostile enough for cyclists without encouraging drivers to do this.

Boyd Johnston, Paisley

Performance is a little wooden

Your report on a company called iomart refers to a chair who previously sat on a board. It seems that nowadays some executives may be seen as part of the woodwork.

David Miller, Milngavie