The UK's largest dog welfare organisation, the Kennel Club,
welcomed today's (Thursday 4 September) parliamentary debate on the
sale of puppies and kittens in pet shops, and the government's
clarification that local authorities have the right to clamp down
on pet shop puppy sales.
Rob Flello, MP for Stoke on Trent South, led the debate, which was
triggered after campaign group Pup Aid's e-petition to ban the sale
of pups and kittens when their mum is not present, received more
than 110,000 signatures.
The debate took place during the Kennel Club's Puppy Awareness
Week, which raises awareness about the perils of buying a puppy
from a disreputable source and the essential dos and don'ts of
buying a puppy.
The dog welfare organisation's Puppy Awareness Week research found
that 16 percent of people claim to buy their puppy in pet shops,
despite the fact that one in five pet shop pups contract parvovirus
within six months, a disease common in pups originating on puppy
The Kennel Club research also found that 31 percent of people buy
a puppy without the mother being present, a common sign of a
disreputable breeder. Furthermore, one in five people surveyed by
the Kennel Club say that they spent a lot more on vets' fees than
they anticipated when first buying a dog - this number is more than
a third (38 percent) when the pup came from a pet shop.
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: "The parliamentary
debate today marks a real milestone in protecting the health and
welfare of puppies and kittens that are being needlessly exploited
for the purposes of making money.
"Puppies in pet shops are frequently separated from their mothers
at a young age and are often bred on cruel puppy farms. We are glad
that the government has confirmed that Local Authorities have the
power, under existing legislation, to restrict the sales of puppies
in pet shops."
The Kennel Club is also calling for better regulation of dog
breeders, who under existing legislation require a local authority
licence for dog breeding if they breed five or more litters in a
year, or if they breed commercially, but local authorities often
lack the resources to carry this out effectively and are rarely
aware of the need to licence commercial breeders who breed less
than five litters a year. The Kennel Club established the Kennel
Club Assured Breeder Scheme in 2004 in order to help puppy buyers
more easily identify responsible breeders, and it is the only
scheme in the country that sets standards for and regularly
inspects dog breeders. The Kennel Club has UKAS accreditation to
certify breeders on the scheme and as such it was recognised in the
debate by Shadow Defra Minister, Angela Smith.
Caroline Kisko continued: "We need to work together to tackle this
barbaric trade from all directions and continue to recommend that
people always insist on buying a puppy from a responsible breeder,
such as a Kennel Club Assured Breeder, or a rescue home, both of
which were highlighted in the debate today. The Kennel Club Assured
Breeder Scheme is the only scheme in the country to set standards
for and inspect dog breeders and we developed this to help puppy
buyers distinguish between good and bad breeders. We applaud the
government's commitment to making local authorities aware of their
responsibility to license any commercial breeder, regardless of the
number of litters they breed, but hope that they have the resources
to carry these inspections out effectively.
"We are pleased to see so much emphasis on public education, which
is why we host our annual Puppy Awareness Week, as only by cutting
the demand for poorly bred pups can we truly starve the puppy
farmers of their oxygen."
MPs also highlighted in the debate the importance of making sure
that pups were properly socialised in the early years of their
life, in order to protect their welfare and to reduce any potential
for dangerous or anti-social behaviour later in life. The Kennel
Club and the Dogs Trust have worked with Kennel Club Accredited
Instructor, Carolyn Menteith, to develop the Puppy Socialisation
Plan, which gives breeders, rescue homes and new puppy owners a
step-by-step online guide to socialising their pups.
The Pup Aid campaign was founded by TV vet Marc Abraham.
More information can be found at www.pupaid.org.
More information on the Kennel Club's Puppy Awareness Week can
be found at www.thekennelclub.org.uk/paw.