Harper to lead debate on puppy farming at Holyrood

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> SNP MSP for the South of Scotland Emma Harper will lead a debate in the Scottish Parliament on illegal puppy farming and trafficking, on Wednesday 21st December. Emma decided to seek a debate in order to highlight the practice of illegal puppy trafficking, following her involvement with concerned constituents in Stranraer who have been campaigning on the issue.
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> Emma also recently met with officers from the Scottish SPCA and had a chance to see some of the puppies and dogs which have already seized from traffickers and puppy farmers.
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> Emma commented:
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> “The illegal farming and trafficking of puppies is an abhorrent breach of animal welfare and can also be linked to serious and organised crime. On both counts we should be taking action to tackle this issue. I first became involved when I was approached by concerned constituents in Stranraer who told me about the puppy trafficking which has been taking place through the port at Cairnryan.
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> “The SSPCA has been doing some excellent work which is resulting in the seizure of puppies and, ultimately, in prosecutions. I also want to pay tribute to Dumfries & Galloway Council’s Trading Standards staff, who have worked particularly closely and effectively with the SSPCA to detect puppy trafficking at Cairnryan.
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> “I want to do what I can to help, so I’m delighted to be leading a Members’ Business debate at Holyrood on Wednesday 21st December to highlight the extent of this problem, the action that a range of agencies and the Scottish SPCA in particular are taking to tackle it, and to start a real debate on what more we can do to promote animal welfare and make life as difficult as possible for the illegal puppy traffickers.
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> “One of the main messages I want to convey is that anyone buying a puppy should ensure they see the dogs in a home environment with the mother.
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> “Sometimes, dealers bring in a ‘show bitch’ to look like the pup’s mother – however buyers can ensure they are not being deceived by insisting on visiting the pup while it is still feeding from its mother and reserving it until it is old enough to be rehomed.
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> “Any legitimate breeder will not have a problem with this and if any excuse is made as to why this is not possible, potential buyers should walk away and contact the SSPCA. No one should ever buy a puppy in a public place such as a car park and it should set alarm bells ringing if this is suggested by the seller.
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> “I’m looking forward to the debate and to having the chance to draw public attention to this issue.”
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> The text of the motion to be debated is copied below:
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> Motion S5M-02454: Emma Harper, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 10/11/2016
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> Ending the Illegal Puppy Trade
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> That the Parliament notes the reported concerns about the illegal puppy trade and the view that this business is a blight on animal welfare that must be tackled; understands however that the trade is big business in Scotland, with thousands of dogs being brought into the country each year from Ireland in particular; further understands that the Scottish SPCA and activists in Stranraer have been attempting to disrupt such activity at the port of Cairnryan; believes that the animals involved are bred and kept in horrendous conditions, which can lead to illness and death; understands that, as Christmas approaches, more people might be tempted to purchase a puppy; notes the Scottish SPCA’s recommendation that people should try to rehome a dog in the first instance but that, if someone is intent on buying a puppy, then they should do so from a reputable and licensed breeder and insist on seeing the puppy’s mother and, if possible, father, as well as its living conditions; notes that it also states that puppies should not be purchased in a public place, such as a car park, and that this should set alarm bells ringing if it is suggested by the seller; understands that, while reputable breeders do advertise with it online, the charity generally advises against buying animals via the internet and that searching the seller’s phone number online could reveal whether they deal in multiple litters and breeds, and notes the view that tackling illegal trafficking through raising public awareness of it is one of the primary ways that Scotland can begin to disrupt this cruel trade.
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> Supported by: Joan McAlpine, Richard Lyle, Sandra White, Christine Grahame, David Torrance, Ruth Maguire, Graeme Dey, Richard Lochhead, Gail Ross, David Stewart, Bill Kidd, Pauline McNeill, Bob Doris, Angus MacDonald, Tom Arthur, Kenneth Gibson, John Mason, Ash Denham, Neil Findlay, Clare Haughey, John Finnie, Jenny Gilruth, Clare Adamson, Andy Wightman, Ivan McKee, Colin Smyth, Gil Paterson, Gillian Martin, Stuart McMillan, Fulton MacGregor, Claudia Beamish, Alison Johnstone, James Dornan, Maree Todd, Colin Beattie
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> Current Status: Achieved Cross Party Support
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