‘Huge Step Forward But Long Way To Go’ Says Kennel Club Of Welsh Puppy Farm Proposals

 

The Kennel Club has welcomed the Welsh Assembly's new proposals that aim to crack down on puppy farmers but has warned that in the face of budget cuts it should not expend resources over-regulating responsible breeders, if the measures are to have any chance of succeeding.

As the 12-week consultation period into the proposals which would replace the Breeding and Sale of Dogs Act 1973 begins, the Kennel Club has welcomed many of the measures including the proposal that breeders should socialise their puppies properly and the principle of compulsory microchipping but has warned that the Welsh Assembly risks clamping down on the wrong people.

Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: "The Welsh Assembly has a great opportunity here to make life difficult for puppy farmers and we congratulate the Rural Affairs Minister, Elin Jones, for her commitment to clamping down on the cruel puppy farming trade. This is a huge step forward and there is certainly much to celebrate but we want these measures to succeed and think that there is still a long way to go. As it stands we fear that local authority resources will be spent policing small scale responsible breeders while there is a strong risk that those who dodge the law will continue to get away scot free."

The current proposals will change the trigger for licensing from 5 or more litters to those who have three breeding bitches and breed two or more litters a year. It will also cover those with three or more breeding bitches and who either keep those bitches in what are seen to be commercial kennels or who supply or sell 10 puppies in a year. This will result in a significant increase in the number of small scale breeders who need to be licensed and checked.

Mrs Kisko added: "This is such an important issue and we do not want to see the Welsh Assembly proposals fall at the first hurdle but they show lopsided thinking and are targetting the wrong people.

"Reducing the threshold at which somebody needs to be licensed is likely to result in a huge increase in the number of breeders who need to be licensed and checked.

"We cannot see how local authorities, who are already struggling to do their jobs effectively and who are now facing budget cuts as well, will be able to cope. This simply plays into the hands of the puppy farmers because while time is spent checking the premises of law-abiding hobby breeders the puppy farmers, who do not apply for licences, will go undetected.

"To ease pressure on resources we are suggesting that members of the Kennel Club Accredited Breeder Scheme are exempt from the need for licensing, as they are already inspected by the Kennel Club and agree to follow standards of care that go above and beyond those proposed by the Welsh Assembly, for example, by health testing their dogs. There is no point in duplicating each other's efforts and this will enable local authorities to focus on puppy farmers who are already avoiding the law.

"We would like to see all puppy buyers going to Kennel Club Accredited Breeders because reducing the demand for puppy farmed pups and pointing people in the direction of responsible breeders is the single most effective way to end the trade.

"We have also offered to train local authority officers so that they are clear about what to look for when inspecting breeders' premises, so that the wrong people don't go undetected."

ENDS
[387.10]
22nd October 2010

Notes to Editors

* The Kennel Club Accredited Breeder Scheme was established in 2004 and its members must agree to follow certain breeding standards to protect the health and welfare of their puppies. They must also agree to allow a Kennel Club Breeder Advisor access to their premises. The Kennel Club is working towards UKAS Accreditation for this scheme.

The current consultation follows the Welsh Assembly's decision to ban Electric Shock Collars on 24th March 2010, following extensive lobbying by the Kennel Club.

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