Thank you for contacting me regarding the ‘Justice for Reggie Campaign’. The Scottish Conservatives are committed to the highest standards of animal welfare. We are clear that those who abuse and inflict cruelty on animals should be punished with the full force of the law. We joined animal welfare charities in demanding that the SNP Government increase the maximum prison sentence for animal cruelty from on year to five. After years of campaigning this passed into law in 2020.
In my opinion, puppy farming is a form of animal cruelty as it puts defenceless puppies through unnecessary trauma and often results in the deaths of pups, such as in the case of Reggie. Not only is the practise cruel for the animals themselves, but it is also unfair to the owners of puppies that have been farmed and traded illegally. In most cases, the families that have bought such puppies have done so unwittingly and mean no harm but are left with the trauma of unhealthy puppies that often pass away soon after they have joined the family.
It is for that reason that my Scottish Conservative colleagues and I would be supportive of moves suggested by the campaign, namely the licensing of breeders to allow inspection, ensuring all mums and puppies are seen within 14 days of birth and increasing the penalties for puppy farming.
During the election to the Scottish Parliament in May 2021, the Scottish Conservatives made a number of manifesto commitments to improve the welfare of dogs across Scotland. We pledged to introduce an Animal Welfare Bill that would ban the sale of dogs with cropped ears in Scotland. Our Bill would also follow Wales in banning the use of electric shock collars. We would also amend the Dangerous Dogs Act, so that dogs are not automatically put down due to their breed.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank for your raising this subject with me. Issues such as animal welfare and the welfare of Scotland’s dogs in particular are of great importance to myself and my constituents. I will therefore gladly support the campaign and hope to see an end to the abhorrent practise of puppy farming as soon as possible.