The Welsh Government is due to vote on the Animal Welfare
(Breeding of Dogs) (Wales) Regulations 2014 later this year. The
Kennel Club believes they should be commended for being the first
administration to address the issues surrounding current
regulations relating to the breeding of dogs and intends to
continue working with the Welsh Government to give advice and
expertise in relation to the inspection of dog breeding
The Kennel Club is now independently accredited by the United
Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) to inspect breeders as part of
the Assured Breeder Scheme and as such is strongly placed to assist
in the training of enforcers with regards to the inspection of
breeding premises under the proposed regulations, or in undertaking
inspections as a nominated inspector by a local authority as
permitted within the regulations themselves.
We have previously highlighted our concerns regarding the
additional work and responsibility placed on local authorities and
feel that our proposals could be a real lifeline to aid already
overstretched Welsh authorities.
The 1:20 Staff to Dog Ratio
Whilst the Kennel Club understands the concerns raised regarding
the Government's decision to introduce a minimum staff to dog ratio
of 1 full time attendant to 20 adult dogs, it believes this
underlines the need to ensure that those inspecting dog breeding
premises are adequately trained to assess the capabilities of those
individuals caring for the dogs.
The Welsh Government has given local authorities, and the
inspectors they appoint, full powers to reduce the ratio threshold
if they feel this is necessary, with 1 full time member of staff to
20 adult dogs being the absolute minimum ratio set within the
regulations. By assisting with inspections and the training of
enforcers, the Kennel Club hopes that rather than just being a
'box-ticking' exercise, inspectors will be able to make an informed
judgement as to whether individuals at different breeding premises
have the skills and competence to handle varying numbers of dogs
and litters of pups.
Funding and Resource Issues
As the Kennel Club has highlighted in the past, with limitations
on local authority resources and funding, it is difficult to
propose stronger and more prescriptive requirements for licensing
dog breeding and expect effective enforcement, when even current
requirements cannot be fulfilled by local authorities.
The Kennel Club is therefore piloting in Wales a system under
which its Assured Breeder Scheme will help to train local authority
inspectors, or Kennel Club trained assessors will undertake
inspections on behalf of local authorities, following the licensing
criteria and guidelines. This is currently the case with vets
occasionally undertaking inspections on behalf of the local
authority and this is permitted within the regulations ("inspector
- means any person who has written authority from a local authority
to act in matters arising under or in relation to the Act or these
The Kennel Club believes it is well placed to undertake such
inspections since they are part of our regular operations and are
where our expertise lies. Kennel Club assessors have to comply with
standards agreed by UKAS and undergo ongoing training.
A number of Assembly Members have written to their local
councils highlighting the Kennel Club's offer to help. As a result
the Kennel Club has received an extremely positive response and we
are in the process of developing a training programme to bring
local authorities up to speed in terms of enforcement and best
practice in inspections. This will help to ensure the best possible
enforcement and implementation of the regulations for the benefit
of dog welfare.
What Can You Do?
Regardless of whether you live in Wales, make sure your local
authority is aware of any unscrupulous breeders operating in your
area who you may have concerns about. Breeding establishments
producing 5 or more litters require a licence and must adhere to
specific requirements in regards to welfare under the Breeding and
Sale of Dogs Act and the Animal Welfare Act.
Most importantly, if you visit one of these sites with the
intention of purchasing a puppy and have concerns - WALK AWAY!
Although you may feel sorry for the dogs and want to rescue them
from the conditions they are living in, continuing to finance the
breeders only prolongs the problem as it proves the demand, no
matter what the motive.
For more information on the do's and don'ts of buying a puppy
and more information on puppy farming go to the Kennel Club's Puppy
Awareness Week webpage: