South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth was proud to host charity the Dogs Trust for an exhibition in the Scottish Parliament last week to discuss their proposals to improve dog welfare.

Dogs Trust is the UK’s largest dog welfare charity and cares for over 15,000 dogs each year through a network of 20 rehoming centres in the UK. Exhibitions have been on hold in the Scottish Parliament for over a year because of the Covid pandemic, and Dogs Trust was one of the first.

Colin is the Deputy Convener of the Cross Party Group on Animal Welfare in the Scottish Parliament as well as Scottish Labour’s Spokesperson on Animal Welfare.

Colin Smyth said: “It was a real pleasure to host Dogs Trust at the Scottish Parliament last week.

“The Trust does such outstanding work, day in, day out, from rehoming to campaigning and it was great to be able to help them bring their message to Holyrood.

“Just some of the great campaigning they have done include pressing for shock collars to be illegal and urging the Government to bring in proper licensing for dog breeding and sales.

“It was a hugely popular event and I hope my MSP colleagues and their staff found it enjoyable and informative.”

The local MSP said the exhibition was an opportune time to highlight to pet owners to get in touch with charities such as Dogs Trust if they are struggling to look after pets amid fears that many people are increasingly giving up dogs that have been bought during the pandemic lockdown.

Many bought dogs during the Covid crisis as they felt they would have more time to care for them while working from home or on furlough.

However, with restrictions being lifted there are concerns that some people have realised that they are not in the position to care for their new pets properly as they return to work and want to get rid of them, with reports that more and more pet owners are selling their dogs online and even disguising them as strays so rescue centres have to take them in.

Colin Smyth added: “Demand for dogs reached an all-time high during lockdown and for many people the addition of a dog to the family made a really positive difference to their lives.

“However, dog ownership is a big responsibility and some people are now discovering, as life returns to normal, that their circumstances mean they are having difficulty looking after their dog.

“If people are struggling to look after their dog for whatever reason, they should get in touch with charities such as the Dogs Trust who will be able to provide support and advice. The last thing we want anyone to do is simply abandon their pets.”

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