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Bates welcomes review of 'puppy farming' laws

November 12, 2009 3:45 PM

Shadow Minister for Rural Affairs, Mick Bates AM, has welcomed the moveby the Minister Elin Jones to undertake a review of dog breeding law,which could see stricter licensing for dog breeding in Wales in aneffort to regulate puppy farming.

Commenting on the news, Welsh Liberal Democrat AM Mick Bates stated:

"I am deeply concerned not enough is being done to protect the healthand welfare of dogs being bred in the UK. I have been appalled by theconditions that have recently been exposed at dog breeding facilities,with animals being kept in small, dark, confined pens in awfulconditions and no access to outside space. Tighter regulation ofbreeding is needed as a matter of urgency, so I welcome the move by theMinister to review the law on dog breeding."

A recent Kennel Club YouGov survey (July 2009) highlights that 72% ofpeople in Wales believe that the Welsh Assembly should be doing more toeradicate puppy farming, 85% believe minimum health and welfarerequirements should be introduced for those breeding dogs and only 8%believe puppy farming is necessary in order to supply the demand fordomestic dogs.

Mick Bates added: "It is clear that we need a change in the law relatingto dog breeding. The current law allows for hobby breeders to keep anynumber of dogs providing they each produce no more than four littersover a year, but this is extremely difficult to monitor. A business ofbreeding dogs for sale should be defined based on the number of dogsbeing bred, as this is far easier to check and control.

"Council dog pounds are overrun with strays, costing the tax payermillions each year, animal rescue organisations are crying out for morefunds and huge numbers of pups in kennels are being euthanased due tothe lack of available space in kennels for housing stray dogs. Dogscontinue to be imported from Ireland which only exacerbates thisproblem, yet there is no regulation in place to control the number ofimported dogs.

"We need more rigorous legislation, with procedure to record and monitordogs bought and sold by breeding facilities and pet shops and the needfor all pups sold to pet shops to carry a vet's certificate andvaccination papers before being sold on. These records should beavailable for inspection by an independent body and would enable easiermonitoring of pups. Poorly treated animals can then be traced back tothe source to identify breeding facilities that are not complying withthe requirements of their licence."