It's #InternationalDogDay! We look at who's celebrating their four-legged friends, and see how people are using this to pressure the Scottish government into passing Lucy's Law to protect dogs in the future.
Every 26 August, people celebrate man’s best friend for International Dog Day. It began as a campaign by American animal behaviourist Colleen Page, who set up national dog day in 2004. The idea was to push people to adopt rescue dogs and raise awareness about the mistreatment of dogs.
Eventually, thanks to the prominence of social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, the idea caught on internationally and now the date is celebrated as International Dog Day.
Every August 26 twitter is awash with photos of all manner of breeds from Schnauzers to Spaniels and Corgis to Cockapoos. Celebrities have taken the opportunity to show off their canine companions as well, such as Yusuf Islam (formerly Cat Stevens), Richard Branson, and long term animal rights proponent Ricky Gervais.
One other notable celebrity tweeting about #InternationalDogDay was UK TV Vet Marc Abraham. However, Abraham was not just sending out a message celebrating dogs. In his tweet Abraham wrote: “Happy #InternationalDogDay folks! Thanks to every animal lover that’s supported @pupaid & #LucysLaw’s ban on cruel 3rd party puppy dealers. Let’s hope @scotgov confirm #LucysLaw4Scotland very soon!”
Lucy’s Law is a campaign aimed at protecting puppies and their mothers' from the inhumane, unsafe practices of puppy farming, as well as third party puppy sales by places such as pet stores. It was started by dog owner Lisa Garner after she rescued Lucy, a King Charles Spaniel. Lucy was malnourished, had a curved spine, bald patches, and epilepsy, all as a direct result of her treatment. Three years after being rescued by Lisa, Lucy passed away, and in her honour Lisa began the Lucy’s Law campaign.
The campaign aims to convince governments to implement new laws surrounding the sale and purchase of cats and dogs, meaning anyone looking to purchase a puppy or kitten under the age of 6 months must go directly to a breeder or rescue centre. So far in 2019, England and Wales have both confirmed that the policies proposed by Lucy's Law will become common law, but Scotland have yet to do so, despite mounting pressure from animal rights activists.
Europe has a mixed record when it comes to similar legislation protecting the welfare of dogs and cats. In Italy, the sale of puppies younger than two-months old is illegal. France has a similar law banning the sale of puppies and kittens younger than eight weeks old.
Spain has no common law ruling regarding the age of puppies or kittens for the entire country, but the law for the Madrid region requires that cats and dogs must be a minimum of three months old before being sold.
Lucy's Law will come into effect across England in Spring 2020.