Rules to be tightened to safeguard our pets

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New Regulations will be drafted to modernise the current licensing system for domestic animals.

The announcement follows a positive response to a Scottish Government consultation in which 96.8 per cent of respondents said they support the regulation of breeding activities.

The consultation included proposals to limit the number of litters that animals should give birth to in their lifetimes, and end breeding practices which are likely to cause offspring suffering in later life.

Rural Affairs and Natural Environment Minister Mairi Gougeon said: “We love our pets in Scotland, so it is no surprise that so many people are in favour of our proposals to further protect the welfare of cats, dogs and rabbits.

“The aim is to modernise the whole licensing process – making it less onerous on those organisations already doing the right thing and, most importantly, ensuring that the system is centred around the welfare of animals.”

Scottish SPCA chief superintendent Mike Flynn said: “We welcome the Minister’s plans to modernise the current licensing system for domestic animals.

“For many years our position has been that an improved licensing system is much needed so we are delighted to see such high public support for this.

“On a daily basis we see first-hand the devastation for both humans and animals that irresponsible breeding can cause.

“Poor practices more often than not lead to health problems later in life for animals and in the worst instances can cause death.”

Mike continued: “As Scotland’s animal welfare charity, we regularly have to pick up the pieces when an animal’s welfare is compromised by the conditions it has been bred in and this has been a particular challenge with our efforts to tackle the profit-driven illegal puppy trade.

“We look forward to working with the Scottish Government to implement the outcomes from this consultation for the benefit of animals across the country.”