'OVERWHELMING public support' has been received for plans backed by Inverclyde's MSP to introduce new regulations on the pet care industry.

Scottish Government analysis of responses to a recent consultation on the proposals revealed 89.1 per cent were in favour of a licensing scheme for commercial dog walkers, while 82.2 per cent gave a thumbs up to similar checks for dog groomers.

Having worked with Port Glasgow business owner Christina O’Donnell on the issue since 2022, SNP man Stuart McMillan has welcomed the latest update on the initiative, which aims to improve animal welfare and ensure better recognition for the 'skilled, professional industry '.

The MSP said: “I’m delighted that the consultation analysis backs up what the industry and pet owners are saying: we need improved licensing and regulation of pet services in Scotland.

“People consider their pets to be a member of the family, so like they would a loved one, they want to make sure the services that they use – whether that be groomers, animal boarders or walkers – to be quality-checked and insured.

READ MOREDemands for stricter regulation in pet grooming industry

“However, the law as it currently stands means many people working in this sector are doing so with little to no relevant experience or qualifications."

Mr McMillan said the step could help cut down on the number of 'horror stories' about animals dying or being seriously harmed at the hands of 'improper' pet groomers, and of dangerous incidents occurring during dog walks.

Christina, who runs Pawsitively Purrfect Pet Services and Training Academy on Newark Street, said she was grateful for the politician's efforts in keeping the matter on the Scottish Government's agenda.

She added: “It’s good news for animals, their owners, and for the industry itself.”