John Griffiths, Minister for Environment and Sustainable Development
A further consultation on dog breeding has been issued today. This follows my statement on 28th June in which I committed to making new Regulations to control dog breeding.
I commented in my June statement that raising standards of animal welfare continues to be important for Government and dealing with unscrupulous dog breeders, who tarnish the reputation of reputable dog breeders, is regarded as a high priority. This is consistent with the objectives of the Animal Health and Welfare Strategy.
We have considered carefully the responses to the first consultation. Additionally, over the summer we listened very carefully to the concerns expressed by the various organisations about the detail of proposed legislation. We have amended the draft Regulations to reflect those concerns. At the same time we have had to ensure that any amendments are consistent with high standards of welfare and enshrine the key principles of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 in the legislation and Statutory Ministerial Guidance.
The key changes from the first consultation are:
- a change to the thresholds so that a person who has 3 breeding bitches and who breeds 3 or more litters per annum will need to be licenced as a dog breeder;
- a restriction on selling. Anybody who has 3 breeding bitches and who advertises for sale 3 litters a year, whether or not they were born on the premises, or supplies them in any 12 month period will require to be licensed;
- a change in the minimum staff to dog ratio to one attendant for 30 dogs.
- that a stud dog is now defined. Record keeping and microchipping are requirements for stud dogs; and
- a yearly licence is to be required for licenced premises.
One of the continuing requirements for licensed dog breeders is microchipping the animals on the premises and of puppies before they are moved off the premises /sold on. We are currently considering the wider application of requiring all dogs to be microchipped and that will be the subject of a separate consultation in due course.
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