A HOLYROOD committee is seeking public views on a proposed bill intended to improve the welfare of dogs.

The Scottish Parliament’s Rural Affairs and Islands Committee wants to hear from dog owners, breeders and the wider public, on how they can improve the Welfare of Dogs (Scotland) Bill.

The legislation's memorandum states it intends to “improve the health and wellbeing of dogs throughout their lives, by establishing a more responsible and informed approach to acquiring and owning a dog; and by making provision for the regulation of the selling or transferring of puppies from unlicensed litters”.

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Introduced on 20 June by SNP MSP Christine Grahame, the bill will heighten the standards expected for people buying, selling and giving away dogs.

If passed, the bill will play a role in putting an end to illegal puppy farms, where dogs are often reared in poor living conditions.

It would also grant Scottish ministers the right to introduce a birth register for dogs born in Scotland.

The National: Finlay Carson MSP

Committee convener Finlay Carson MSP (pictured above) said: “Scotland is undoubtedly a nation of dog lovers and the love and companionship that they provide can help both our physical and mental health and wellbeing.

“But dog ownership brings responsibilities, as well as rewards. Unprepared owners can have an impact on the health of dogs, and many are not ready for the challenges or the costs of owning them.

“This bill aims to encourage greater awareness of these responsibilities before someone gets a dog by introducing a code of practice for buyers and sellers alike.”

The consultation is open until 11 August, and committee members hope to hear how they can enforce the birth registry of newborn puppies, how a code of practice for dog owners should work, and if the public agrees that there is a need for additional regulation to own a dog.

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Carson said: “It is also clear that some people will put profit above the welfare of dogs, leading to unhealthy breeding practices.

“The Bill hopes to address this issue by giving Scottish Ministers the power to make people register all puppy litters, which it is hoped, would help to stop puppy farming.

“Now we want to hear from dog owners, breeders and the general public with an interest in the welfare of dogs about whether they think this Bill would really make a difference.”