Paws, Prevent, Protect: that was the message from Lesley Griffiths, as she visited the Dogs Trust rehoming centre in Bridgend.
The Minister was there to highlight the Welsh Government’s #PawsPreventProtect social media campaign, running over the festive period. The campaign aims to remind anyone considering buying a pet of the importance of responsible purchasing.
#PawsPreventProtect encourages people to think twice before buying a pet. It advises them to research information about the costs and time commitment; consider the suitability of the pet to their home environment; and ensure they acquire the animal from a legal and reliable source.
Licensed dog breeding premises are inspected and approved by local authorities but it is important the new buyer is not supporting the illegal “puppy farm trade” or any other dubious means where puppies’ health or welfare may have been compromised.
During her visit the Minister said:
Taking on any animal is a long term commitment. People should make sure they have thought hard about the level of commitment they are taking on, particularly in terms of time, space and finances.
All potential owners of a new pet need to know where the animal has come from. Ask to see it with its mother. Don’t be fobbed off with excuses why this can’t happen. If you’re buying a puppy make sure it has been microchipped – it’s the law.
If you do not know the history of an animal, you have no assurance it has been taken care of or has been properly socialised. This could lead to future behavioural problems and expensive veterinary costs.
Be mindful pets are sometimes advertised in a way which misleads the buyer regarding the animal’s history, breed or pedigree. Do not buy on impulse. Do your research.
Be particularly careful when buying any animal advertised on the internet or through local or social media. If a new pet is found to be illegally imported and has not complied with the disease control rules, the owner will be liable and may have to pay costly quarantine and veterinary bills”.
If you need advice, a range of excellent animal welfare organisations are available such as the Dogs Trust, who I am pleased to be with today, the Kennel Club, Cats Protection and the RSPCA. If you have any doubts or concerns about an animal please do not feel pressurised; walk away and speak to a vet before agreeing to buy it”.
These are just some of the messages we are promoting as part of our #PawsPreventProtect campaign. If anyone is considering buying a pet this Christmas, check out the hashtag on your social media channels and make sure you are confident you have all the information you need to make a responsible purchase.