Jane Jones, who lives in Haddington, booked Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home’s large paddock for her two rescue dogs to have a safe run off-lead weeks in advance.
However, when she arrived and produced Moksha and Gizmo’s pet passports as proof of their vaccinations, she was told they could not use the paddock as the two dogs were imported from a foreign country – even though Gizmo has lived in Scotland for more than eight years.
Both the dogs were rescued from Spain, where hundreds of galgos – an ancient Spanish breed – are used by hunters each year before being dumped or killed.
Gizmo, nine, was brought to Scotland in 2012 by Scottish Greyhound Sanctuary. Moksha, who is 18 months old, arrived a month ago from Spanish charity 112 Carlotta Galgos.
Jane said: “Given the number of hoops these dogs have to jump through in terms of testing, treatment and vaccination before they are even allowed to enter the UK, I find it hard to find an evidence-based reason why they are deemed to pose an increased of anything to other dogs.
“The fact Gizzy has been a resident in the UK for nearly nine years didn’t seem to make any difference either.
“I‘m very unimpressed with this unfounded and prejudiced attitude towards foreign dogs and urge the centre to either provide clear evidence-based justification for this policy or revise it going forward.”
Jane was offered use of one of the centre’s smaller paddocks, but she said it was the same size as their family garden and would not have given the dogs a chance to run freely and get proper exercise.
Jamie Simpson, director of operations at Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home, said: “Here at Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home we love all dogs and cats, they are at the heart of everything we do.
“Running an operation like ours means that we need to be very careful to not put any animal at risk of disease or harm.
“Sadly, that means that we have to be more cautious with dogs imported from abroad as they may have been subject to diseases that aren’t present or prevalent in the UK.
“We understand that all animals imported to the UK have received key vaccinations; however, often these vaccinations do not cover all diseases that can be brought over.
“More information on this can be found on the British Veterinary Association website.
“We do not wish to exclude dogs imported from abroad from using our paddocks; however, in the interest of health and safety, we are allowing customers with imported dogs to use our smaller paddock runs.
“In this instance, we apologised to the customer and will be reviewing our terms and conditions over the coming days to make our policy on this clearer.”