New rules governing puppy sales come into force today…… but only in England
Buying a puppy has become a whole lot more complicated in England under new legislation introduced today, 1 October 2018.
New regulations are aimed at strengthening animal welfare, particularly around puppy sales, and so-called puppy farming in England.
The new rules will:
- Ensure that breeders must show puppies alongside their mother before a sale is made.
- Tighten regulations so that puppy sales are completed in the presence of the new owner – preventing online sales where prospective buyers have not seen the animal first.
- Ban licensed sellers from dealing in puppies and kittens under the age of eight weeks.
- Regulate adverts, including on the internet, by ensuring licensed sellers of all pets include the seller’s licence number, country of origin and country of residence of the pet in any advert for sale.
- Introduce a new “star rating” for dog breeders, pet shops and others to help people rate them on their animal welfare standards.
The move is strongly supported by animal welfare organisations such as the RSPCA who’ve campaigned for a number of years.
Animal Welfare Minister, David Rutley, said:
“These regulations will end mistreatment and malpractice of puppies and crack down on unscrupulous breeders so pet owners will have no doubt their new dogs have had the right start in life.
The licensing systems for businesses that work with animals have not been reformed for almost fifty years. The changes in place from today simplify these into one system for local authorities, help consumers to make better informed decisions and will further improve animal welfare.
These changes form part of our efforts to ensure we have the highest animal welfare standards in the world. This includes making CCTV cameras mandatory in all slaughterhouses as well as our plans to increase prison sentences from six months to five years for animal abusers.”
The myriad of licensing systems that local authorities use to regulate businesses which deal with animals, or animal activities, have been in place for over 50 years.
This has led to outdated regulations meaning some businesses require several licences and others, such as home boarding and dog day care businesses, were not always covered.
The new regulations introduce a new system for local authorities to use for the different areas of activity (detailed below), simplifying the licences needed by businesses, ensuring all businesses working with animals are covered and driving up animal welfare standards.
A key part of these new licences will be a new “star rating” (out of five) for dog breeders, pet shops and other licensed activities involving animals.
This rates these businesses, on welfare and other grounds, and helps buyers use the best breeders as well as local authorities to more heavily regulate the poorer rated.
Welsh Conservatives welcomed the move in England and as animal welfare is a devolved power, Andrew RT Davies has called on the Welsh Labour Government to follow suit to ensure people with a complete disregard for pet welfare will no longer be able to profit from this miserable trade in Wales.
Commenting on an announcement that new rules would come into force in October the Shadow Rural Affairs Secretary, said:
“This is a welcome move from Michael Gove and demonstrates the Conservatives’ commitment to have the highest animal welfare standards in the world.
Rural south west Wales has the biggest concentration in the UK of commercial dog breeders, and it is sadly widely acknowledged that some are churning out puppies in terrible conditions.
Irresponsible breeders can contribute to a chaotic start in life and lead to serious health problems and lack of socialisation for puppies and kittens.
The Lucy’s Law campaign has fought tirelessly for this ban to be introduced to stop irresponsible breeders using third parties and ensure all breeders are accountable.
The Labour Welsh Government must now follow suit and ensure Wales becomes a truly animal friendly nation.”
A Welsh Government has said is currently looking at the possibility of banning the sale of kittens and puppies via third parties in Wales.
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