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No to dogs by the hour

The Kennel Club is uniting MPs and MSPs in opposition to a new business that sees dogs rented out to customers for an hour at a time to take on walks or to parties. The idea has recently spread from Los Angeles to London, and will soon expand to Glasgow.

David Drew MP (Lab, Stroud) tabled a motion in Parliament for other MPs to sign up to, he said: "Dogs are not jewellery or dinner suits to be used for a day and then returned, they are animals that have an exceptionally strong bond with people and require a stable home environment.”
Robert Brown MSP (Lib Dem, Glasgow Region) tabled a similar motion north of the border condemning the idea, arguing: “I am shocked that dog rental businesses describe themselves as a service targeted at dog-lovers. Dog renting is an idea which will horrify most dog owners and dog lovers and encourages irresponsible attitudes towards dogs.”

The arguments against this idea were summed up by Caroline Kisko: “When someone rents out a dog their main interest is their own enjoyment, not the welfare of the dog. Like us, dog rental businesses should be encouraging dog lovers to volunteer to walk dogs for their local re-homing centre – for free – rather than charging up to £4,800 a year for the privilege. Responsible owners realise that dogs require consistency as well as companionship, and that changes to routine can cause behavioural problems. Worryingly, the business in question promises to rent out only dogs aged 2-5 years with nothing said about the welfare of the dogs once they pass this age.”

Dr Emily Blackwell, Clinical Behaviourist, University of Bristol, echoed the Kennel Club’s concerns, saying: "Our research suggests that inconsistency in owner behaviour is associated with an increased number of problematic behaviours in pet dogs. Being passed back and forth between a number of homes may therefore have an adverse impact upon a dog's welfare."