Tighter regulation of dog breeding, and new obligations on those seeking to acquire a puppy or dog, are put forward in a public consultation on a proposed member's bill in the Scottish Parliament.

SNP member Christine Grahame argues that despite the current breeder licensing framework, backed by publicity campaigns, “too many puppies and dogs still end up being 'rescued', some very traumatised and neglected”.

Her package of measures seeks to improve the framework within which breeders and suppliers operate, along with the traceability of puppies, while also focusing on the responsibilities of potential owners.

Specific proposals include:

  • reducing the threshold for requiring a breeding licence from five to three litters in any 12 month period, in line with changes happening separately in England and in Wales;
  • extending the licensing regime to cover any form of transfer or supply, not only the sale of puppies;
  • temporary registration, online and with a minimal fee, for anyone with a litter from a bitch for which they are responsible and who wishes to transfer ownership of a puppy to someone else, whether or not money changes hands;
  • requiring a prospective owner to check whether the breeder is licensed or registered, and to see the puppy with its mother prior to purchase;
  • prescribing a set of questions, based on animal health and welfare requirements and good practice, to be considered by potential owners before the point of sale or transfer – including issues regarding their home environment, household, time commitment, financial means etc.

Improving owner awareness of their responsibilities, Ms Grahame accepts, is “arguably a more complex proposition”, but she adds: “However it is clear that improving responsible acquisition of puppies is key to tackling the challenge of irresponsible and illegal breeding. I would therefore welcome your feedback on how this could be achieved.”

Click here to access the consultation. The closing date for responses is 30 July 2018.

  • Consultation on a separate proposal by Conservative member Jeremy Balfour to improve animal welfare by enhancing local authority pet shop licensing powers and updating the licensing system, including in relation to licence conditions, fees and inspections (click here to access), closes on 18 June 2018.