The Transportation and Sale of Puppies (Scotland) Bill, being launched in the Scottish Parliament today (25th November) by Christine Grahame MSP, is the first step in providing much needed protection for puppies being transported and sold in Scotland.
Scottish SPCA Parliamentary Officer, Libby Anderson stated: "Puppies are big business but they can also be bad business. The current lack of regulation and the high value puppies can fetch mean that these defenceless young animals are open to exploitation. Turnover and profit are pursued at the expense of the puppies' welfare.
"The proposed Bill, which has received cross party support, will help regulate this trade by introducing tough new measures safeguarding the health and welfare of each animal."
There has been growing concern over the number of puppies being imported from Ireland. In a recent case, a puppy dealer named John Walsh was fined only £500 after being stopped at the ferry terminal at Cairnryan in July with a car crammed with 49 puppies. Only last week another vehicle stopped at Stranraer was discovered to be crammed with 102 puppies apparently destined for the Scottish market.
The Scottish SPCA is very aware of the problems associated with this trade, often receiving complaints from the new owners of the pups. Scottish SPCA Superintendent Mike Flynn highlighted some of the problems:
"Each year hundreds, if not thousands, of puppies are transported from Ireland in cramped conditions and sold in breeding establishments, lay-bys and car parks across Scotland.
"The poor breeding and transport conditions, together with the lack of proper veterinary care, mean these young puppies have a very difficult start in life."
In all the complaints that the Scottish SPCA has received about puppies originating from Southern Ireland, the puppies have had an exceptionally high worm infestation, almost all had some form of enteritis (inflammation of stomach and bowel) and there has been a high incidence of the potentially deadly parvo virus.
"It is often the case that the puppies are sold within hours of arriving in Scotland and it is the new owners who are faced with expensive vet bills and sometimes the heartache of losing a new pet.
"There is currently no legislation regulating this trade."
police and Scottish SPCA have made prosecutions under the
Welfare of Animals (Transport) Order 1997, and animal cruelty
legislation, nevertheless, too many cases are falling through
the net. This Bill will clarify the law and provide extra
protection for these young animals."
Becky's story ‘Becky, a Jack Russell cross’, is that of just one of the hundreds of puppies that are transported from Ireland each year.
One week after being sold, Becky developed enteritis and suffered from severe diarrhoea, vomiting and worms; she also developed skin problems. Becky has been rehomed by a loving family who have taken on the responsibility for her health problems.