An all-party parliamentary group for dog welfare has launched a report it hopes the main political parties will consider and accept as part of their policy-making processes leading up to and following next year’s general election.

The group hopes to capitalise on growing political interest in canine issues.

The report – titled Review and Recommendations for Developing an Effective England-wide Strategy for Dogs – has been complied and published in partnership by a small group of key stakeholders with input from cross-party politicians. Stakeholders include:

  • Battersea Dogs and Cats Home
  • Blue Cross
  • the British Veterinary Association
  • Dogs Trust
  • The Kennel Club
  • PDSA
  • the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

According to the group, the report – published today (December 2) – sets out a series of recommendations to improve the welfare of England’s dogs, covering subjects such as breeding, sale and trade, dog control and responsible ownership.

Recent years have seen an increase in interest and awareness among politicians of dog-related issues, said the group, making it keen to ensure a better understanding of dog welfare and promotion of responsible ownership is “enshrined in all future legislation”.

Chairman of the all-party parliamentary group for animal welfare and MP for Tiverton and Honiton Neil Parish said: “The need to develop an England-wide strategy for dogs has been on the group’s agenda for some time, and I therefore welcome the publication of this report by the dog sub-group.

“Dog issues are not party political, so I urge all my political colleagues to support this document and commit to implementing it after May’s election.”

Speaking at the launch of the report, sub-group chairman and MP for Stoke-on-Trent south Rob Flello said: “Dogs are the most popular companion animal in England and most of us come in contact with them in some form on a daily basis. There is a range of legislation relating to dogs, but many argue it is outdated and no longer fit for purpose.

“This report shows there needs to be a clear vision for breeding, selling and ownership in England, and one that encourages responsible ownership in a proportionate way, both raising the standards of animal welfare and ensuring public safety.”

According to the group, the report is the first stage of a longer-term process for the dog strategy, with a second phase of work planned for 2015. This is when the recommendations will be developed further to provide more detailed approaches for policy-makers, enforcers and stakeholders, it said.

For more information and to read the report, visit the group’s website.

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