Tuesday 25 September 2018

New laws for dog breeding

The Animal Welfare Act (2006) is about to undergo some major changes with regards to dog breeders. In today's blog, we go through what is going to change come October 1st ... 

The new legislation, entitled Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations, will revoke legislation currently in place, such as the Pet Animals Act 1951, Animal Boarding Establishments Act 1963, and Breeding and Sale of Dogs (Welfare) Act 1999. The changes are due to the number of significant advances in the understanding of dog behaviour and welfare in recent years, as a large number of acts that pre-date the Animal Welfare Act (2006) are severely obsolete. 

So, what is happening? 

A single licence for pet selling, dog breeding and animal boarding establishments – including home boarders and day-care establishments – will be introduced. These licences will be issued for a fixed term, set at any point in the year, with the aim of preventing a backlog of inspections at any one time. Local authorities will be able to use a risk-based approach to licensing, meaning lower risk and high performing operators will be allowed a longer licence and fewer inspections. It is hoped that this will encourage licence holders to constantly work to high standards.

The sale of puppies below the age of eight weeks will be prohibited in all cases. Furthermore, anyone breeding three or more litters per year will now require a licence – lowered from the previous five or more litters. These changes mean that if you breed from your dog to make a profit – even if the dog in question is your pet – your local authority licensing department may deem you to be "selling dogs as a business," and the rules will be applicable to you. If in doubt, contact your local council.

The way in which dogs can be advertised for sale, and how sales records must be kept will be clearly outlined with this new law. Any dog kept or sold must have a record kept of him, showing the following details:

  • The dog's full name
  • A record of whether the dog was bred or purchased
  • The sex of the dog
  • The dog's age
  • Information on the dog's veterinary records and any veterinary treatment they have undergone
    • If they are currently undergoing veterinary treatment, this must be recorded, and, if relevant, that the dog is not to be sold
  • The dog's date of birth – or the date the dog was acquired
  • The date on which the dog was sold to a new owner
  • If relevant, the date of the dog's death 
    • Records should be retained for at least six years
The full list of criteria that must be adhered to when advertising a dog for sale includes the following:

  • A breeder licence number
  • Name of the local authority that issued the licence
  • A clear, recognisable photo of the specific dog for sale
  • The age of the dog offered for sale
  • The dog's country of origin and country of residence

Dog owners will soon be able to check whether an establishment has a licence, as well as see what star-rating – on a scale of one to five – it has been awarded. 

Who must now be licensed?

To summarise, the following concerns will require a licence. 
  • Boarding kennel
  • 'At-home' boarding establishment
  • Breeders – anyone breeding three or more litters per year
  • Doggy day-care provider
  • Anybody selling dogs they did not breed themselves – including pet shops
Those that do not require a licence are: dog walkers, groomers and hydrotherapists. 

We hope that this has helped clarify the changes next month. If you have any questions, be sure to contact your local council.