Emma Harper joins Scottish SPCA #SayNoToPuppyDealers campaign

On Wednesday (20 December), Emma Harper MSP led a parliamentary debate encouraging all dog lovers to consider adopting an animal from a registered charity or shelter instead of purchasing a puppy which could be fuelling the cruel puppy trade.

Emma Harper MSP said, “I have supported the work of organisations like the Scottish SPCA in their fight against puppy trafficking since my election in 2016.

“The illegal puppy trade is an abhorrent practice that has no regard for the welfare of the animals involved, MSPsunfortunately this is a problem at the Port of Cairnryan, through which it is estimated thousands of puppies are illegally imported every year.

“One of the key ways to disrupt the illegal trade, and hit puppy farmers where it hurts – is to reduce demand for puppies by adopting a shelter dog instead.

“I will continue to work closely with the Scottish SPCA and the Scottish Government to bring an end to the horrors of puppy trafficking.”

We brought together experts from across the UK at their first K9 Conference in November in partnership with Clinical and Health Psychology at the University of Edinburgh. Collaborative research between Dr Jo Williams and the Scottish SPCA has revealed the damaging effects of puppy farming on dog behaviour. The conference has helped produce a strategy to combat the puppy trade and illegal import of dogs. The strategy recommends a public awareness campaign and the creation of an online resource, endorsed by animal welfare organisations and the UK governments, which can provide evidence-based information for the public about buying a dog and recognising the signs of illegal trade, as well as advice and support on dog care and training.

We continue to suffer first-hand the devastating effects of puppy farming and are more determined than ever to raise public awareness and tackle the issue once and for all. Their recent research confirms findings that dogs from puppy farms exhibit significantly higher rates of undesirable behaviours relating to anxiety, aggression and fear. Puppy farmed dogs are also more likely to have genetic disorders and carry infectious diseases such as parvovirus, an often fatal condition which can cost up to £4,000 to treat. 

Head of Education & Policy Gilly Mendes Ferreira said, "The barbaric and cruel trade in puppies needs to stop.

"Week after week, animal rescue organisations across the UK and Ireland, and devastated owners are picking up the pieces of a multi-million pound industry which treats these dogs as nothing more than commodities, with no concern at all for animal welfare.”

Dr Jo Williams, Senior Lecturer in Clinical and Health Psychology at the University of Edinburgh said, "Our research has shown that dogs from puppy farms have more behavioural issues and are more likely to have medical conditions impacting their long-term health compared to dogs from other breeding backgrounds.”

Our Special Investigations Unit spearhead a multi-agency taskforce to tackle the illegal trade in puppies by detecting offenders, disrupting illicit trade and reducing animal suffering through Operation Delphin which includes support from Dumfries and Galloway Council, ISPCA, USPCA, DSPCA, RSPCA, HMRC Trading Standards, Stenaline, Police Scotland Port unit and APHA.

Alongside this vital investigatory work, we are also running an online campaign #SayNoToPuppyDealers to help spread awareness and educate the public about the horrific puppy trade.

Anyone concerned about the welfare of an animal should contact ouranimal helpline on 03000 999 999.

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Fighting the illegal puppy trade

Puppies are in pain and suffering all over Scotland. Together, we can be there to pick up the pieces and help prevent more suffering.