Butler gives his backing to Dogs Trust

Animal charity officials discuss canine legislation with Robbie Butler MLA at Northern Ireland Assembly event.
Animal charity officials discuss canine legislation with Robbie Butler MLA at Northern Ireland Assembly event.

Dogs Trust officials have met with a local MLA to discuss canine legislation.

The dog welfare charity, visited the Northern Ireland Assembly last week to discuss their Dog Manifesto and priority animal welfare issues for the Assembly with 36 MLAs, including Robbie Butler.

The animal welfare charity, which has a rehoming centre in County Antrim, cares for nearly 17,000 dogs each year and never puts a healthy dog down.

One of the key issues Dogs Trust was keen to draw attention to at its reception was the lack of legislation surrounding the sale and use of electronic training devices. Dogs Trust is calling for a ban on the sale and use of these devices.

Mr Butler said: “I fully support their call for action on the issue of electronic shock collars and will be working with them to ensure Northern Ireland does not get left behind when it comes to protecting the welfare of all dogs.”

The Dogs Trust Public Affairs team also engaged with MLA’s on the breeding and sale of dogs and their work as part of the Pet Advertising Advisory Group (PAAG) which focusses on the online advertising of pets for sale.

Dogs Trust Head of Public Affairs, Claire Calder explains: “We were delighted to visit the Northern Ireland Assembly to discuss our 2016 Dog Manifesto with Robbie. At the top of our agenda were electronic training devices.

“We are calling on MLAs to back our calls for a ban on the sale and use of electric shock, spray and sonic collars. These devices use the principle of being aversive to dogs to inhibit behaviour and so have the potential to negatively impact dog welfare. The use of aversive stimuli when training dogs can cause pain and anxiety, and can be associated with both physiological and behavioural indicators of stress.

“We are disappointed that the Northern Ireland Assembly has no current plans to consult on the use of electronic training devices but we hope by raising awareness of this issue the Government will take action to protect man’s best friend.”