Borders MSP planning bill to outlaw puppy farms

MSP Christine Grahame with an eight-year-old Dutch shepherd at Edinburgh Cat and Dog Home.
MSP Christine Grahame with an eight-year-old Dutch shepherd at Edinburgh Cat and Dog Home.

Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale MSP Christine Grahame is calling for a change in the law to encourage responsible dog ownership.

Ms Grahame, convener of Holyrood’s cross-party animal welfare group, says such a move could help “tackle the horrors and misery of so-called puppy farms”.

The Scottish National Party MSP has launched a consultation on a planned member’s bill calling for new regulations on the breeding and sale of dogs.

The plans have already got the backing of animal charities including the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, OneKind and the Dogs Trust, as well as the Kennel Club.

Ms Grahame said: “My proposed bill seeks to better regulate dog-breeding but, most importantly, for the first time, it would also place new obligations on owners, as well as breeders, to ensure a more responsible and informed approach to owning a puppy or dog to reduce the distress to both animals and, indeed, owners, some of whom may find they have been duped, with all the heartache which follows.

“I also hope that, by placing responsibilities on those acquiring a puppy or dog, it can help tackle the horrors and misery of so-called puppy farms and the inappropriateness of online sales.”

The bill, if passed, would ensure everyone who breeds and then sells, or transfers ownership of a puppy, is either licensed or registered.

In addition, it plans to “provide a mechanism for ensuring a more responsible and informed approach to acquiring and owning a puppy or dog”.

Ms Grahame said: “Too many dogs end up with chronic health conditions from irresponsible breeding or in rehoming centres, having gone to a home that was wholly unsuitable in the first place.”

She launched her consultation at Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home, and its director of operations, Lindsay Fyffe-Jardine, warned: “There is a growing problem of irresponsible breeding activities in Scotland.

“While we understand that many people have the best intentions when they go to buy a dog, it’s important that we better safeguard the public, and our animals, from these illicit practices.”

Mike Flynn, chief superintendent of the SSPCA, said: “We fully support and welcome Christine Grahame’s member’s bill proposal, which is in line with our campaign that encourages the public to be more responsible sellers and buyers of puppies.”

Jen Terris, campaign manager for the Dogs Trust in Scotland, said: “We urge anyone to do thorough research before buying a puppy to help them make sensible choices and to avoid being tricked into buying a poorly-bred puppy.”

Libby Anderson, policy director at the animal welfare group OneKind, said: “Both sellers and buyers need to provide for their puppies’ welfare, but at the same time it’s essential they check that the other party is equally caring and responsible.”

Holly Conway, public affairs manager at the Kennel Club, added: “We are delighted that Christine Grahame is highlighting the importance of dog owners sourcing their puppies and dogs responsibly.”