New rules to crack down on backstreet breeders
Defra unveils plans to reform dog breeding licensing rules
Tougher dog breeding licensing rules will be introduced as part of a suite of reforms to crack down on ‘backstreet breeders’, the government has confirmed today (2 February).
Selling puppies under the age of eight weeks will become illegal under the new plans, and anyone breeding and selling three or more litters of puppies a year will require a formal licence. ‘Backstreet breeders’ and larger commercial breeders will therefore be required to meet strict welfare criteria in order to get a licence, Defra says.
Breeders who do not adhere to the rules will face an unlimited fine or up to six months in prison.
To update current legislation, anyone trading commercially in pets online will need to be properly licensed. The government’s plans also cover the licensing of pet shops, boarding houses and riding stables, and a single ‘animal activities licence’ will be introduced to improve the process and make enforcement easier.
Pet shops will be required to give buyers written information about the species they buy, including exotic pets, which will provide details of the five welfare needs owners must meet under the Animal Welfare Act.
Defra also urged pet owners to make sure their pet’s microchip is up to date. According to the latest figures, 94 per cent of dogs have been fitted with microchips, nine months after compulsory microchipping of dogs became law.