UK Dog Owners Who Dress Up Pets Could Face Prosecution

The RSPCA is threatening legal action against dog owners who ‘over-dress’ their pets. Officials claim that putting on items such as boots, all-in-one trousers and hoodies, could be harmful to dogs and lead to prosecution for owners if they feel an animal’s welfare is at risk.

Canine couture is big business and the increasing trend among owners to dress their pets fashionably has even led to top designers including Vivienne Westwood and Ben de Lisi creating dog outfits. The luxury Harrods store in London also has an annual fashion show called Pet-a-Porter where canines take to a ‘dog-walk’ and parade in a variety of daring outfits.

Experts said there are a few occasions where dog clothing is acceptable, such as with small dogs and short-haired varieties.

Jess Bland, professional dog walker and pet sitter from My Pet Friend, said: ‘Dog clothing certainly serves its purpose when it’s cold and wet, but it has to fit properly. Although dogs would survive in the wild, they’re generally used to being indoors. There is a case that they need coats in the winter, especially shorter-haired dogs and smaller dogs.’

However, Lynn Williams, founder of dog charity Happy Dogs said: ‘To see a little dog dressed up in boots, I think, is a little over the top. You can buy anything fashion-wise for your dog. I have an extreme love of the dog, but I don’t like to see them dressed up as little human beings. I don’t think they like it either. It’s unnatural.’

Dorset RSPCA spokeswoman Jo Barr said: ‘Dog owners should be aware that under the Animal Welfare Act that came into force in April 2007 they have a duty of care to ensure that all of their pets’ needs are met. One of those needs is to express normal behaviour and it could mean that with restrictive clothing they are not able to do that properly. We’re concerned that any pet should be viewed as a fashion accessory. Taking on an animal is a long-term commitment. It’s quite humiliating and sends out the wrong message about pet care. We’ve seen trends in recent years brought about by the rise in celebrities with “handbag dogs”. This usually leads to people taking on pets because they are “fashionable” and sadly that means many are neglected.’

What are your thoughts on this? We would never let our pups be unhappy or humiliated!

[Source: Daily Mail]