This week (29th November) Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, invited a host of MPs and Peers to celebrate its 125th anniversary at its annual House of Commons reception hosted by Neil Parish MP and attended by John Spellar, MP for Warley.

Dogs Trust, or the National Canine Defence League (NCDL) as it was formerly known, was founded in 1891 by socialite Lady Gertrude Stock and a small group of fellow dog lovers. Dedicated solely to helping “protect dogs from torture and ill usage of every kind”, the charity has been instrumental in campaigning for dog welfare for the past 125 years.

From its early years campaigning against the widespread use of dogs for vivisection and the persecution of stray dogs following rabies scares, to opening shelters for stray dogs and most recently, successfully campaigning to make microchipping compulsory in England, Scotland and Wales, Dogs Trust has long championed the cause of the nation’s four-legged friends – something it continues to do to this very day.

With 125 years of successful animal welfare campaigning under its belt, Dogs Trust is now looking to the future, and to help raise awareness of the issues the charity will be focusing on over the next year, MPs and Peers were invited to pose for a photo in the ‘driving seat’ of a 1920’s Dogs Trust animal ambulance. Seventy-two MPs and Peers came along to take the wheel of the retro ride, and pledge their support to Dogs Trust as it continues on the road to driving change for dogs over the next year and beyond. Lord Gardiner also spoke at the event highlighting some of the improvements to be made in dog welfare over the next 12 months.

John Spellar MP for Warley said,

“I am very pleased to support Dogs Trust in raising awareness of the current issues facing the nation’s dogs. Dog welfare is something I feel very strongly about, and I commend the incredible efforts Dogs Trust has gone to in a bid to improve the lives dogs across the country over the past 125 years. I pledge to help do my bit to drive change for dogs over the next 12 months and beyond.”

Adrian Burder, Dogs Trust CEO, says:

“Over the coming 12 months one of the main focuses for Dogs Trust will be the issue of irresponsible breeding. There is currently little to no enforcement on the breeding and sale of dogs in the UK and this is something which needs to change.”

“Looking forward, Dogs Trust is calling for a registration and licensing system to ensure better enforcement and traceability of anyone breeding, selling or transferring the ownership of dogs. We believe that anyone selling a single dog or a single litter should be registered with their Local Authority and that anyone breeding two or more litters a year should be licensed as a breeder. These measures should help give prospective puppy buyers more confidence, as well as providing local authorities with a definitive list of individuals involved in this trade.

“We are delighted that the recent EFRA Committee report has made this one of their recommendations along with a call for puppies entering the UK from abroad under the Pet Travel Scheme to be at least six months of age, a move we hope will bring about the end to illegal puppy imports. We are also encouraged that the Committee has recommended that the PAAG Minimum Standards be made mandatory for all classified websites advertising pets for sale. I hope that Government will enshrine these recommendations in law with all due speed.”

Over the past 125 years, Dogs Trust has achieved a number of important advances in dog welfare including;

  • 1891: Dogs Trust was founded as the National Canine Defence League
  • 1908: Dogs Trust introduced the Cruelty to Animals (Amendment) Bill
  • 1912: Our first rehoming centre opened its doors; we now have 20 across the UK and one in Ireland.
  • 1928: The Dogs (Amendment) Act made it an offence to find a stray and not endeavour to trace the owner or deliver it to the police.
  • 1937: Dogs Trust guidelines resulted in the Cinematograph Films (Animals) Act, preventing cruelty to dogs in the making of films.
  • 1967: Dogs Trust’s non-destruction policy was introduced, since then we have never put a healthy dog to sleep.
  • 1997: Dogs Trust successfully campaigned for the removal of mandatory destruction of dogs found guilty under the Dangerous Dogs Act.
  • 2001: Dogs Trust created the Pet Advertising Advisory Group (PAAG)
  • 2003: Dogs Trust successfully campaigned for the Fireworks Act to become law, controlling the noisiest fireworks and limiting availability to certain times of the year.
  • 2006: Dogs Trust played an instrumental role in the introduction of the Animal Welfare Act, which ensures all animals’ welfare needs are legally required to be met by their owner.
  • 2016: Compulsory microchipping was introduced from April 2016, something Dogs Trust had for a long time lobbied governments to do. 

Dogs Trust has made so many improvements to the lives of the nation’s dogs over the years, but there is still work to be done. Over the coming 12 months, the charity will continue to work towards the day when all dogs can be free from the threat of unnecessary destruction. The charity will be focussing on;

  • Legislation to protect racing greyhounds in every aspect of their lives
  • A government action plan to address abuse of the Pet Travel Scheme
  • Updated and strengthened legislation on dog breeding and sale
  • A ban on electric shock collars and other aversive training devices

To find out more about Dogs Trust and our achievements over the past 125 years, please visit

Link to Instagram Link to Twitter Link to YouTube Link to Facebook Link to LinkedIn Link to Snapchat Close Fax Website Location Phone Email Calendar Building Search