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MSP vows to rein in dog rental service


PLANS BY a controversial American ‘dog rental’ company to open in Glasgow has been
condemned by a member of the Scottish Parliament.

LibDem MSP Robert Brown has hit out at Flexpetz, a firm which rents out animals for anything from a few hours to a few days. He has tabled a parliamentary motion in the Scottish Assembly calling on MSPs to ban the company from operating in Scotland, which eh feels is
inconsistent with good animal welfare and the Assembly’s plans for the Control Of Dogs Bill which is currently under consideration.

He said: ‘If dog renting is not a breach of the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006, it
certainly should be. This is an appalling idea. I am shocked that a dog rental business describes itself as a service targeted to dog-lovers. Dog renting is an idea which will horrify most dog owners and dog lovers. Dog rental businesses encourage irresponsible attitudes towards dogs and encourage the use of pets as fashion accessories.’

Mr Brown claimed the practice would cause unnecessary distress to dogs by depriving them of a stable environment and damaged the ability of the dog to have a normal relationship with people.

He added: ‘Dogs are not inanimate consumer items. They need normal stable domestic arrangements as the basis of a contented life. The idea of renting out dogs in this way for profit is repugnant.’

Mr Brown said dog rental firms originated in America and charge an overall annual cost of £4,800 to hire one for four days each month. He pointed out that although the business in the UK is very small, there is ‘potential for its growth due to the increase of fashion accessory dogs’.

On its website, Flexpetz claims to be ‘a unique concept for dog lovers who are unable to own a full-time doggy pal, but miss spending time with a canine friend’.

Pippa Woolard, Flexpetz's UK representative, denied that the firm would hire out dogs to
indiscriminately, saying: ‘I like to get to know them before they are accepted and would not allow a dog with anyone who gave me cause for concern."

But leading animal charities have expressed concerns that passing a dog from one home to another could prove distressing to the animal, leaving it with no routine.

A Dogs Trust spokesman said: ‘We don't agree with the principle of renting or loaning out a pet because an animal, and dogs in particular, have a certain bond with its family.

‘To remove it from that environment by putting it out to rent is quite distressing and we would actually say detrimental to the well-being of the dog.’

The RSPCA has also registered its disquiet about the scheme, saying that not giving a dog a secure routine could leave it unhappy.