When buying a puppy, or any animal, you want one which is healthy and happy. They are often a large investment, depending on the breed, so you at least want value for money, and it is not unreasonable to expect this investment to last throughout the animal’s expected lifespan of a number of years.
This is why the scale of illegal puppy imports though ferry ports Dumfries and Galloway is a real problem.
Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Trading Standards team have been in partnership with the SSPCA and police Scotland port Unit to combat this illicit trade since 2016. Members of the Council’s Economy, Environment and Infrastructure Committee will meet on 14 May to agree to the continuation of this project and to hear of the proposed new legislation for dog, cat and rabbit breeders.
Over the past 3 years vehicles carrying puppies have been stopped at Cairnryan ferry port on a regular basis and a significant level of intelligence has been build up as a result. This has helped to reduce the trafficking over more recent months, however, this does not mean that the issue has disappeared. In fact publicity campaigns by Scottish Government, SSPCA, the Kennel Club, The Dog’s Trust, and other bodies have resulted in a significant increase of complaints about puppies that have become ill and where the seller cannot be traced.
Licensing has a significant role in helping buyers decide if advertised puppies are legitimate. In 2017 there were 8 licensed dog breeders in our region, there are now 18. This increase is partly due to increased enforcement by our trading standards team and partly due to an increase in demand.
Because of this increased demand (the annual demand for puppies in Scotland is estimated to be more than 100,000) and because the Scottish Government believe that current regulatory provisions are unfit for modern times. Members of EEI Committee will also hear of new proposed legislation which would also include the commercial breeding of cats and rabbits.
Councillor Archie Dryburgh, Chair of EEI Committee said: “Puppy trafficking is a terrible trade, both for the dogs concerned and for the consumers who purchase them. By working in partnership with other agencies we can stamp this out and avoid a lot of heart-break in the long run.”
Andrew Wood, Vice Chair commented: “By increasing the regulatory provision to cats and rabbits we will be covering most people’s pets, helping them to buy in confidence. Our Trading Standards Team are to be congratulated for the partnership work they have done to date and for the reduction in cases in recent months.”