My latest Argus column

Jun 8, 2023

The bond between animal and owner is incredibly special and anyone who owns a dog will know the benefits of their unconditional love. Sadly, in the search for that special pet, people across our country face heartbreak when they accidentally purchase puppies from unscrupulous breeders.

In some cases, those buying a puppy will accidentally purchase a puppy that has been illegally imported, or from a breeder that has not ensured high levels of animal welfare and veterinary care.

Sadly, it is not just illegal puppy smuggling that leads to cases of puppies being mistreated. Illegal puppy farming and breeders selling through third party sellers also cause puppies to be bred in inhumane conditions without proper care. We need more accountability and transparency for breeders and sellers, and more checks on breeders to ensure that they are complying with the highest standards of breeding practices.

The 2019 Conservative manifesto promised to “crack down on the illegal smuggling of dogs and puppies”. Yet last week they announced they were dropping their planned animal welfare legislation. These laws would have cracked down on puppy smuggling and puppy farms.

I am proud to support the Justice for Reggie campaign which aims to end puppy smuggling and put an end to the practices of puppy farming. Reggie was a 12-week-old Labrador, sold in 2020. Reggie fell ill only 12 hours after arriving home with his new owners. After three days at the vets, he tragically died of Parvovirus. His owners later discovered that Reggie’s paperwork had been fake and that he had been bred at a puppy farm in Ireland.

Unfortunately, Reggie’s family are not alone in experiencing the death or serious illness of their new puppy due to poor breeding practice.

There are currently too many loopholes, and too many puppies being bred without the proper veterinary care. Those hoping to sell puppies need to be held to a higher standard of accountability, at a minimum they should not be able to hide behind anonymity and must be required to provide proof of identity to sell animals on these websites.

We must protect the most vulnerable in our society, and those that cannot protect themselves, such as animals. Puppy farms and unethical dog breeding practices have long been a source of animal rights abuses, and it is time we legislate the industry to prevent more cases like Reggie’s.

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