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MSP and pet in dog of year contest

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By Fiona Reid
MSP and pet in dog of year contest

SOUTH Scotland SNP MSP Emma Harper, who this year entered her Border Collie, Maya, into the Holyrood Dog of the Year competition, has welcomed the success of the event in promoting important animal welfare and safety issues across Scotland.

The pair entered to raise awareness of the impact of illegal puppy trafficking and of livestock worrying. These are issues she has campaigned on since her election in 2016 – including through successfully strengthening the law in relation to livestock worrying in 2021.

The event, which was sponsored by Dog’s Trust and the Kennel Club, also used the opportunity to highlight the impact of the cost of living crisis for people with dogs.

The South Scotland MSP has congratulated this year’s winner – her colleague and MSP for Kirkcaldy, David Torrance, with his dog, Buster.

Ms Harper said: “Holyrood Dog of the Year is a really important event in the parliamentary calendar as it allows MSPs from all paw-litical parties to raise vitally important animal welfare issues. This year we had a particular focus on the impact of the cost of living crisis on dog owners, with reported increases in the number of people seeking support from the likes of Dog’s Trust as they are struggling with the cost of feeding their dogs.

“I entered Maya specifically to help raise awareness of illegal puppy trafficking and livestock worrying, a subject I was able to strengthen the law on with my Members Bill in the Scottish Parliament which achieved cross party support back in 2021. Both puppy trafficking and livestock worrying seriously impact on animal welfare. I encourage everyone to look out for the signs of puppy trafficking which are available from the Scottish SPCA and to avoid their dogs worrying livestock by familiarising themselves with the Scottish Outdoor Access Code which supports responsible outdoor access.

“Maya had a difficult start in life being kept indoors with a lack of exercise. We adopted Maya when she was one year old and had some behavioural and food issues to address. With time and attention, human and other interaction with our other collies – and lots of exercise, she learned very quickly and shows us all how all rescue dogs can make great pets enhancing and enriching our lives. I want this to be the experience of all dogs, and I encourage people to adopt and be wary of the issues when seeing dogs for sale on the internet.”



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