Dog ownership has a multitude of benefits to both the public and society. The presence of companion animals and interaction with pets has shown to have a significant influence on improving physical, mental and emotional health. These benefits transpose and positively impact on society by facilitating social contact and reducing social isolation, enhancing empathy, learning and responsibility in all individuals and developing a sense of community. Pet ownership also has large economic benefits by improving health and thus reducing government expenditure as well as helping boost the economy with dog food sales amounting to £1.5 billion in 2013.
With new legislation coming into force including compulsory microchipping regulations and the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act, the Kennel Club would like to see the new Government ensure that the implementation of these laws is sufficiently resourced to avoid placing further burden on local authorities who are tasked with enforcement without adequate means to do so effectively. This would guarantee the legislation has the positive impact intended in protecting and improving animal welfare.
Finally, the Kennel Club would also want the new Government to invest in appropriate enforcement of the legislation surrounding imported puppies from abroad. Whilst the Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs has made efforts to improve elements of the Pet Travel Scheme to help close loopholes and make it harder for fraudulent import, the Kennel Club would call for further action to ensure that dog health and welfare is protected alongside human health. In this respect, closer cooperation with the European Union Member States and the alignment of border control strategies must go hand in hand with better enforcement across the UK as a whole.