Alun Davies, Minister for Natural Resources and Food
I am pleased to lay before the National Assembly today, the draft Animal Welfare (Breeding of Dogs) (Wales) Regulations 2013.
For a number of years there has been increasing public concern on the way that dogs are bred across Wales, especially in licensed premises. Research first developed in 2009 recognised that the existing rules for licensed dog breeding were not consistent with the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
We have listened very carefully to concerns expressed in our first and second consultations, as well as the views from our Task and Finish Group on Dog Breeding. Detailed guidance has been developed and is set out as part of the Welsh Government’s expectation of the standards that are needed on licensed premises and which will be delivered by local authorities.
A number of requirements are detailed in the Guidance. In the draft Regulations we have placed certain requirements on the number of dogs a person can look after and as a consequence of the second consultation, the summary of which has been published today, we have set it to 1 person to 20 dogs. This excludes any puppies born to those animals. We have also set out that breeders must have socialisation and enhancement and enrichment programmes for dogs on licenced premises and that animals must be microchipped. Breeders who already operate to high standards should easily be able to accommodate these changes and, in some cases, will already be doing this and more
The Welsh Local Government Association and local authorities have already started to consider these new standards, but existing licensed breeders and those who may need to be licensed for the first time, will be able to consider them in more detail. Consequently to ensure that we have a proper, timely and enforceable set of rules, I am proposing the commencement date, will be the 1 January 2014 to allow all local authorities to start setting up new licensing regimes.
These Regulations have been developed as part of the Welsh Government’s Animal Health and Welfare Strategy and its Road Map on Dog Welfare about responsible ownership of dogs. These draft Regulations will be debated on the 2nd July 2013.