In April, Greyhound Compassion was invited to the All-party Parliamentary Dog Advisory Welfare Group (@APDAWG1) meeting about third party puppy sales. APDAWG seems to be an agile group giving small to mid-size dog welfare charities, organisations and campaigners a voice in Westminster.
Chaired by Rob Flello (Labour MP at the time and very good dog advocate) and Marc Abraham, the meeting had energy and gave us hope for an active voice on dog related issues in Westminster.
We were, however, hugely disappointed to learn at the meeting that DogsTrust, Battersea and the Blue Cross refuse to support an immediate ban on puppies sold in pet shops, preferring a stronger licensing regime for breeders.
Everything we’ve heard from Local Authority Inspectors suggests that local authorities have neither the financial nor human resources to strengthen licensing or stray dog control. This would be a completely unrealistic expectation.
Apparently, DogsTrust does not see a ban as a practical solution even though the Select Committee on Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs recommended a ban. We heard stories of back street and rural puppy farming supplying puppies for internet and pet shop sales and families buying these puppies in good faith.
Often, the puppies turn out to be sick with fatal consequences, or they end up in rescue because families cannot cope with the newly acquired puppy. This is a serious welfare issue and does mean that irresponsible breeding and abandonment of these dogs unnecessarily adds, at best, to an inflation the numbers in pounds and rescue centres (where we know the rescued greyhounds are also queuing up) and at worst to suffering and death.
A ban would improve the welfare of millions of dogs in the UK. Disturbingly, it has become apparent that, Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, has actually advised the Government against banning third party sales. The DogsTrust’s aversion to a ban appears to be primarily based on a view that it is necessary to satisfy the demand for puppies. Fuller information is available here. We were pleased to hear a statement read by the RSPCA making it clear that a ban is the only way to end puppy farming.
Since April, no meeting has been held by the APDAWG while new appointments are made. We will bring you further updates when we can.