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Working dog docking loophole

DOG-BREEDERS with working dogs are evading Scottish laws by sending their animals south of the Border to have their tails docked. A exemption in the law means breeders can take pregnant bitches to England, where docking is still legal for working strains.

The move, said an article last week in the The Scotsman, is the latest example of people moving across the Border to take advantage of differences in the law.

The latest disparity has arisen over the Animal Welfare Bill. The legislation, which became law in late April, outlaws tail-docking. However, the Scottish Executive yesterday confirmed it is not illegal to take a pregnant animal south of the Border to have the puppies tails docked and then return to Scotland.

James Scott, the Scottish policy officer for the British Association for Shooting and Conservation, said dog-breeders in Scotland were always going to take advantage of the loophole.
However, the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said transporting dogs made a "mockery of the law".

A spokeswoman added: "The Scottish SPCA would always wish to see those flouting animal welfare laws prosecuted, but it is very difficult to do so if a procedure banned in Scotland is carried out in a country where it remains legal."