Blue Cross welcomes consultation calling for stricter pet shop laws in Scotland

Blue Cross is pleased to be working with Jeremy Balfour MSP on a consultation which will lead to better protection for animals sold in pet shops.

Current laws governing pet shops under the Pet Animals Act 1951 are outdated and are failing to protect animals and pet owners in Scotland.

We are pleased to have worked with Jeremy Balfour on the new member's bill which is calling for a stricter licensing scheme for pet shops.

This will increase the consistency of standards required for pet shops, lead to better conditions for pets and give local authorities the tools they need to ensure pet shops comply with the law.

The bill aims to address weaknesses in the current law, including an inability for councils to revoke a licence, no guidance on licence fees, which range from £23 to £380 across local authorities in Scotland and inconsistencies in inspections.

Our research, Unpicking the Knots, showed:

  • Many local authority officers in Scotland receive no animal welfare specific training
  • Local authorities are not required to annually inspect pet shops in Scotland
  • There is no requirement for pet shops to give out the correct welfare advice when selling animals

Becky Thwaites, Head of Public Affairs at Blue Cross, said: "We have been pleased to work with Jeremy Balfour MSP on this proposal to improve the licensing of pet shops across Scotland.

"Although Blue Cross would always recommend people go to rehoming centres or a registered breeder when looking for a new pet, we know people will still look to go to pet shops for their new family pet.

"Current legislation around the selling of pets is vastly outdated and we welcome the opportunity to bring it up-to-date to better protect the welfare of pets in Scotland.

"We hope that interested parties will take the opportunity to take part in this consultation to ensure both pets and their owners are protected at the point of sale."

Scottish Conservative MSP for the Lothians Jeremy Balfour MSP said: "With animal welfare being a fully devolved issue, the Scottish Parliament has a real opportunity to improve the lives of pets and pet owners across Scotland.

"Current legislation governing the sale of pets is outdated and failing to protect animals or pet owners across Scotland.

"Every pet bought from a pet shop, no matter the species, is important to their new owner – it is the latest addition to their family.

"Every Scot wants their pet to have had the best start to life and be in good health at the point of sale.

"This legislation will ensure our system is sufficiently robust to protect animal welfare and enable the public to buy with confidence, safe in the knowledge that the pet shop they are buying from is a reputable, licensed establishment which has been subject to a stringent licensing process."

— Page last updated 23/04/2021