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Council to make call for greater control over dog sales

Dundee City Council has investigated more than 1,000 reports of dangerous dogs since 2010.
Dundee City Council has investigated more than 1,000 reports of dangerous dogs since 2010.

Dundee City Council wants to see tougher controls put in place to regulate the sale of dogs online.

A report to go before the local authority’s community safety and public protection committee on Monday includes the council’s proposed response to Scottish Government consultation on the Control of Dogs Act (2010).

The report reveals Dundee City Council has issued 84 Dog Control Notices since 2018 and carried out 1180 investigations into complaints of aggressive or out-of-control dogs.

But the council’s response warns unscrupulous breeders or owners may be selling dogs to unsuitable homes online and suggests taking action to police such sales.

The calls have been backed by the Scottish SPCA, the country’s leading animal charity.

Committee convener Alan Ross said: “This is a consultation response but what we would say is that we feel some kind of formal mechanism would be helpful.

“It would have to be something that was done nationally.”

The SNP Lochee councillor added: “There might be a dog that is subject to a control owner that is sold online and the people buying the dog might not know. It’s that kind of thing we are trying to stop.

“Genuine breeders will ask buyers about what experience they have with dogs, or if they have children in the house but other sellers might just be out for a quick buck.”

He added: “This is predominantly about the safety of young people and children but there is also an animal welfare angle too.

“Not every dog is suited, for example, to a one-bedroom flat or a house with children.”

Councillors will be asked to approve the response to the call for evidence on Monday.

It states: “Individual dogs changing ownership via social media/ through online marketplaces,rather than via dog kennels/ rehoming charities is more commonplace these days.

“As a result of this, dogs not suitable for certain households, ie due to a lack of
space, or the presence of children or other animals, can be brought in to such
households unregulated.

“Dogs that are aggressive, known to bite,or are unwell, could also be changing ownership by such means.

“The introduction of a formal means or mechanism for assessing the suitability of introducing a dog (at purchase
or transfer of ownership) into a new environment may reduce the risk or likelihood of
a dog incident occurring.”

Scottish SPCA Chief Superintendent Mike Flynn said: “We would welcome any steps towards the monitoring of the sale of animals.

“While there may be reputable people selling pets online, this is not something that the Scottish SPCA supports.

“Online adverts can lead to impulse buying of animals that people know very little about and it is also a way that illegal puppy farms and dealers can hide their businesses.

“We would also strongly discourage anyone from buying a pet online which will then be delivered, or where the buyer meets the seller in a car park or a similar public location.

“This sort of transaction is purely about making money and the welfare of the animals involved is of little or no concern to the seller.”

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