The import of puppies from puppy farms in Ireland and elsewhere is a major concern with determined, unscrupulous individuals trafficking thousands of dogs to Scotland alone.
The illegal puppy trade is a blight on animal welfare in Scotland, and we believe this issue must be tackled immediately.
There is also a sizeable trade in puppies coming from Eastern Europe, especially Hungry, Lithuania and Poland, to the UK. The trade is estimated to make millions of pounds in profit each year.
Yesterday (Wednesday 21st December) OneKind was in the Scottish Parliament to hear a debate lodged by Emma Harper MSP on Ending the Illegal Puppy Trade. Motion S5M-02545 was debated in detail among MSPs, and we were very pleased to see many them supporting calls for action on this issue to be taken.
Cabinet Secretary, Roseanna Cunningham MSP said, “Illegal trade of puppies from Ireland and elsewhere could be seriously disturbed if every single puppy buyer first considered rehoming an animal from a shelter in Scotland, or if they must buy a puppy, insist that they must see it first with their mother at the breeding premises”.
She also stated that the possibility of ending third-party sales will be looked at in the overall review of animal welfare which is currently ongoing.
Puppies imported illegally almost invariably come from large-scale puppy farms which can cause an array of problems for the animals including lack of proper diet, restricted access to hygiene, and no veterinary attention. It means puppies are very often sold to new owners with preventable diseases, painful conditions, and long-term behavioural problems due to lack of early socialisation.
OneKind Policy Advisor Libby Anderson said: “The hidden cost of this business is one of animal sickness, distress and suffering, allied with heartache for the families who have to watch their new pet sicken and die, or grow up to be a confused, unsocialised and potentially aggressive dog. It is impossible to calculate such a cost.”
Last month, we shared the news that plans were in place to create an industrial puppy farm in Ayrshire. The plans lodged were for a facility which would house up to 40 dogs. It’s no surprise that it has been met by heavy objections, and we are pleased to tell you that we have also submitted an objection to the East Ayrshire Licensing Board. OneKind has been campaigning for years for a review of the Pets Animals Act 1951 as part of a wider review of the breeding and pets in Scotland. We want to see online sales looked at as part of the review to ensure pets cannot be purchased without seeing the animal and vendor prior to the sale.
What can you do to help?
If you are thinking of buying a puppy, then we urge you to the consider choosing one from a reputable rescue centre first. We do not support commercial breeding for profit, but we do acknowledge that many individual breeders provide far superior standards of care to those on puppy farms. If you are set on having a specific breed, then you must do your research first and we insist that you see the puppy with its mother at the breeding premises.