The Mirror has accused the Dogs Trust of lobbying against measures to introduce an immediate ban on selling puppies in pet shops, but the charity has said the article is “skewed” and that it does, in fact, want a ban.
Today the Mirror published a story headlined 'Outrage as Dogs Trust tries to torpedo the most important dog welfare measure for years', accusing the Dogs Trust of lobbying against the Lucy’s Law campaign to end puppy farming.
But the charity has said the article is “grossly misleading”, that it was not given an opportunity to respond to some of the accusations, and has published its correspondence with the journalist.
Parliamentary debate next week
The article is based on an email the Dogs Trust sent MPs ahead of a parliamentary debate next week, which said a ban alone would not be enough.
The charity told MPs that: “Whilst Dogs Trust wants to see an end to third party sales and the sale of puppies in pet shops, we believe that a ban on third party sellers alone would not be sufficiently robust.”
MPs were told that other measures were needed in addition to ban. The Dogs Trust website says “we want a ban” and outlines other measures such as regulation of rehoming centres, a licensing and system of inspection, and legislation on enforcement action
But the Mirror claims that animal welfare campaigners “have reacted with disgust and dismay” to the charity's reported efforts to "derail the fight to end puppy farming".
Dogs Trust response
The Dogs Trust said that the coverage was “skewed” and “extremely hurtful” and published its correspondence with the journalist, showing that it said it wanted a ban.
In a statement posted on Twitter the charity said it was “extremely disappointed” because the journalist had asked only one question – if the charity would try to overturn the ban – and it replied “explaining how much we want a ban and that it will be more effective as part of a package of measures”.
It also said that it was not offered the opportunity to comment on criticism of its lobbying activity.
“A debate is being held in parliament next week and we want to make sure that MPs use their powers to make the ban as effective as possible. Making this sound underhand, when organisations regularly brief MPs and other supporters of Lucy’s Law are also meeting with politicians, is grossly misleading,” it said.
We are extremely disappointed by the skewed journalism in today's Mirror. pic.twitter.com/s8n0G6ClJ3— Dogs Trust (@DogsTrust) May 17, 2018
It has also published its correspondence with the journalist, which said: “We want a ban as much as you and will do everything in our power to make it work.”
The email we received from the journalist and our response: pic.twitter.com/JsQtO4ZmjS— Dogs Trust (@DogsTrust) May 17, 2018
The Mirror has responded to say that the Dogs Trust has been "wilfully misleading" and that the charity had been contacted a number of times.
1. Dogs Trust is being wilfully misleading by saying I asked one question in one email, I've had several email exchanges plus phone calls. 2. Dogs Trust has a history of blocking moves to ban third party puppy sales, see the @Independent of 3/3/17: pic.twitter.com/4rQSAGtut8— Andrew Penman (@PenmanMirror) May 18, 2018
Full Dogs Trust statement
“We’re extremely disappointed by the skewed journalism in today’s Mirror. Mr Penman asked us ONE question – whether we’d campaign to overturn an immediate ban. We replied explaining how much we want a ban that it will be more effective as part of a package of measures. He has singled us out but our colleagues at other large animal welfare organisations, like the RSPCA, Battersea and Blue Cross also believe the best chance of success is alongside further measure like improved licensing. The enforcement authorities also agree.
“One angle of his story, accusing us of being ‘caught lobbying parliament to prevent an immediate ban’ he didn’t even put to us to defend. Charities regularly meet with MPs to share their knowledge and experience. A debate is being held in parliament next week and we want to make sure that MPs use their powers to make the ban as effective as possible. Making this sound underhand, when organisations regularly brief MPs and other supporters of Lucy’s Law are also meeting with politicians, is grossly misleading.
“It’s hurtful when we’re attacked like this. We are raising these concerns because we genuinely think it’s best for the dogs we’re here to protect. We will be celebrating as much as anyone else when a an is brought in but we will continue to talk to MPs and do what we can to make sure the ban we all want to happen is a success.”
Editor's note - 18 May
This story has been updated to include response from the Mirror.