A ban on third party puppy sales is to be explored by the Government as part of a package of reforms to drive up animal welfare standards, the Environment Secretary Michael Gove has announced today.
Introducing a ban on third party puppy sales is an issue that local MP Justin Tomlinson has been campaigning for ever since he was elected in 2010.
He welcomed news that a call for evidence was launched today seeking views on a possible ban on third party sales, which would mean anyone looking to buy or adopt a dog will either deal directly with the breeder or with one of the nation’s many animal rehousing centres.
A raft of measures to crack down on unscrupulous puppy breeders set out by the Prime Minister in December have also been announced in Parliament today. The legislation, which will come into force later this year, includes:
- Banning licensed sellers from dealing in puppies and kittens under the age of eight weeks;
- Ensuring that licensed dog breeders show puppies alongside their mother before a sale is made;
- Tackling the sale of weak underage puppies and the breeding of unhealthy dogs and dogs with severe genetic disorders;
- Introducing compulsory licensing for anyone in the business of breeding and selling dogs;
- Requiring puppy sales to be completed in the presence of the new owner, preventing online sales where prospective buyers have not seen the animal first;
- Insisting licensed dog breeders can only sell puppies they have bred themselves.
During his campaign Justin has worked closely with a number of organisations including the RSPCA, Dogs Trust, Pup Aid & Kennel Club.
Justin Tomlinson MP said: “I am absolutely delighted that our long fought campaign has taken a huge step in the right direction. We need to do everything we can to make sure the nation’s much loved pets get the right start in life. From banning the sale of underage puppies to tackling the breeding of dogs with severe genetic disorders, we are cracking down on sellers who have a total disregard for their dogs’ welfare. Crucially, I know just important this issue is to Swindon residents and I am glad that this is part of our much wider efforts to enhance animal welfare across our country.”
The Governments plans have been widely welcomed by charities.
RSPCA Deputy Chief Executive Chris Wainwright said: “We are delighted that DEFRA is considering a ban on third party sales of puppies. We believe that cracking down on unscrupulous traders, who put profit ahead of animal welfare, will provide much-needed protection for prospective pet owners and puppies. We have always said that an end to third party sales alone would not be enough to end the puppy trade crisis and we are pleased that this is being looked at alongside enhanced licensing conditions for breeders which will come into force later this year. Together, we hope these moves will offer better protection to puppies and their parents and also reduce the number of families duped by rogue traders in this illegal multi-million-pound trade.”
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: “The Kennel Club welcomes Defra’s announcement as a crucial step forward to tackle the cruel puppy farming industry. The Kennel Club, whose own regulations explicitly ban the sale of puppies to third parties, has long called for an end to the sale of puppies in pet shops and by other third party retailers. Third party sales are an underhand practice designed to protect puppy farmers with terrible consequences for dog welfare. Puppy buyers unknowingly purchase a puppy from a seemingly nice dealer in pleasant surroundings, who would in fact have purchased the puppy from a backstreet dealer who has given no thought to their health and welfare. There is simply no way that a responsible breeder would ever sell a puppy to a pet shop or a pet dealer and we are delighted to see this issue getting the attention that it deserves. Good breeders, such as Kennel Club Assured Breeders, always insist on speaking at length to potential puppy buyers to ensure their pups will be given good homes.”