Alan Davies AM, Minister for Natural Resources and Food
Further to my Written Statement on 5th July about the Animal Welfare (Breeding of Dogs) (Wales) Regulations, I am today publishing the findings of the consultation, which ended in October. The key issues of the latest consultation related to the adult dog to staff ratio and the role of local authorities in Wales in determining the conditions to be applied in licencing premises.
The consultation had a wide variety of responses. There was strong feedback that local authorities should have the flexibility envisaged in setting a ratio above the minimum if the prevailing conditions dictate that.
The key driver in these proposals being the standards of animal welfare in establishments that breed dogs in Wales. My objective is to improve the welfare of dogs in licensed breeding establishments and to require that the welfare of puppies born on the premises is optimised and that those puppies are properly developed and socialised. In order to achieve this I am determined that our statutory framework is underpinned by efficient and enforceable regulations.
Following careful analysis of the evidence received, it is my intention to proceed with a minimum staff to adult dog ratio of 1 to 20. This will act as a benchmark for Local Authority Licensing Officers to determine the most appropriate ratio for individual premises based on critical factors such as breed, litter size, nature of premises and breeding programmes.
The planned introduction of the regulations is now scheduled for February 2014 and I look forward to taking this legislation forward which will, in conjunction with other legislation on dogs, see the Welsh Government’s ambitions on animal welfare in relation to dogs realised.
In taking this legislation forward I expect my officials to work closely with the local authorities and to ensure the statutory guidance will reflect a successful operational outcome.
This statement is being issued during recess in order to keep members informed. Should members wish me to make a further statement or to answer questions on this when the Assembly returns I would be happy to do so.