Harper Reminds People To Stay Vigilant Over Illegal Puppy Trade This Christmas

South Scotland MSP, Emma Harper, is reminding people to stay vigilant over the purchasing of puppies this festive season.

Ms Harper’s annual ‘Puppies in Parliament’ campaign is now in its fifth year but like many events had to be cancelled this year due to the COVID pandemic.

The event usually brings together MSPs from all political parties and the Scottish Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA) to highlight responsibilities when buying a puppy and avoid disappointment of puppy purchasers who may fall victim to the clandestine ‘puppy pound’.

Illegal puppy trading increased during lockdown and demonstrates no respect for animal welfare as well as leaving purchasers of puppies devastated with deaths of newly bought pups due to disease and malnourishment which can lead to huge Veterinary bills – all of which can be avoided if the right pre puppy purchase checks are carried out.

Last year Ms Harper invited MSPs and stakeholders to participate in the Say No to the Illegal Puppy Trade campaign in the Garden Lobby of the Scottish Parliament with Animal Welfare Minister Mairi Gougeon and Ms Harper holding puppies safely brought to the photocall by the SSPCA.


Ms Harper commented:


“My ‘Puppies in Parliament’ is a very popular event and unifies key stakeholders such as the SSPCA as well as my MSP colleagues across all parties in the fight against illegal puppy trafficking.
“The event, now in its fifth year, provides an opportunity for Members to raise awareness of the illegal puppy trade and the efforts underway to tackle it from a wide range of organisations – particularly ahead of the usual increase in dog sales ahead of Christmas.
‘Thousands of puppies are traded illegally in Scotland, many enter through Cairnryan Port near Stranraer. During lockdown just one seizure at Cairnryan resulted in thirteen puppies being rescued by the SSPCA. There are huge sums of cash involved in this trade and earlier this year I contacted HMRC to find out information about these large revenues recovered from such puppy seizures, as this information isn’t made available to the Scottish Government.       
“I have seen lots of puppy sickness issues via social media during the Covid pandemic and these incidents sadly appear to be to be all too frequent.
“I’d like to remind people to please stay vigilant, always ask to see the mother of the puppy – this can be done online with social media such as face time too – and check all paperwork which should be in hand before any purchase of a puppy. With these simple checks carried out by owners we can fight illegal puppy trading and families and individuals can enjoy the love and joy of a new puppy without falling victim to devasting consequences.” 
“I hope next year my colleagues and I, and key organisations, such as the SSPCA, can join once more for the Puppies in Parliament event which raises the important work being carried out by all bodies and helps highlight such an important issue.”    

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