Kennel Club welcomes consultation on third party puppy sale ban

The Kennel Club has welcomed a consultation by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) about a ban on the practice of selling puppies via third parties as a crucial step forward to tackle the cruel puppy farming industry. However, it has raised concerns about how the wider licensing regulations being laid before parliament can be effectively enforced.

The Kennel Club, whose own regulations explicitly ban the sale of puppies to third parties, has long called for an end to the sale of puppies in pet shops and by other third party retailers, as puppy farmers often use such outlets to sell their pups to unsuspecting members of the public who never see the terrible conditions that the pups were raised in.

Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary said: “We welcome this consultation by Defra to ban the third party sale of puppies, which are simply an underhand practice designed to protect puppy farmers, with terrible consequences for dog welfare. Puppy buyers unknowingly purchase a puppy from a seemingly nice dealer in pleasant surroundings, who would in fact have purchased the puppy from a backstreet dealer who has given no thought to the health and welfare of the pup or its mother.

“There is simply no way that a responsible breeder would ever sell a puppy to a pet shop or a pet dealer and we are delighted to see this issue getting the attention that it deserves. Good breeders, such as Kennel Club Assured Breeders, speak at length to potential puppy buyers to ensure their pups will be given good homes.

“The Kennel Club has long supported and campaigned for a ban on third party sales and we are glad that other organisations are now coming on board, which will help to send a strong message of support to Defra during the consultation period.”

The Kennel Club has also welcomed the package of measures being laid before parliament tomorrow under the Animal Establishment Licensing Regulations, which includes banning licensed sellers from dealing in puppies and kittens under the age of eight weeks; ensuring that licensed dog breeders show puppies alongside their mother before a sale is made and preventing online sales where prospective buyers have not seen the puppy first.

However, the Kennel Club has some concerns about how local authorities will enforce the new licensing regime, now that breeders who breed three or more litters will require a licence. The Animal Licensing Establishment Regulations are being laid before parliament on Thursday (8 February) and will be enforced from October.

Caroline Kisko continued: “All the regulations in the world will not improve dog welfare unless they can be effectively enforced and we question how already over stretched local authorities can enforce all of these changes, which are so critical to improving dog welfare, now that many more breeders will require inspection.

“We are working with Defra on plans for a proposed risk-based licensing system, which will determine how frequently a dog breeder is inspected. We hope that the overall number of inspections that local authorities are required to carry out can be reduced by the fact that the Kennel Club already inspects those breeders who are part of the UKAS accredited Assured Breeder Scheme, which requires high welfare standards for dog breeding.”

The Kennel Club Assured Breeder Scheme requires that breeders conform to high welfare standards for dog breeding, which are not required by those who are simply licensed by their local authorities. This includes issuing a contract of sale, giving post sales advice to the puppy buyer and carrying out relevant mandatory health tests before breeding.

Read further information on the Kennel Club’s view on puppy sales.