With effect from 1st October (but with guidance only just issued by DEFRA), animal businesses, including dog breeders, pet shops, dog boarding and riding establishments will be subject to nationally-set licence conditions under The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018.
Salford currently issues 37 animal boarding licences, ten pet shop licences and one dog breeding licence. Previously, the implementation of regulations was left to the 'discretion' of local councils. It means that Salford City Council will now be forced to tighten up on the keeping, breeding and selling of animals.
Incredibly, previous inspections of the city’s animal premises were only carried out by members of Salford’s Environmental Health Team. Now this will have to be done by a ‘qualified inspector’ and, at dog breeding places, with a vet present.
Conditions specific to the breeding and selling of dogs are also considerably tighter under the new regulations and include no puppy under the age of eight weeks may be sold or permanently separated from its biological mother.
Advertisements for the sale of a dog are also subject to greater scrutiny and must include a recognisable photo of the dog, its age and, if a commercial breeder, their licence number must be displayed.
In addition to these new tougher regulations, a ban on the selling of puppies by pet shops and other commercial third parties, known as Lucy’s Law, will be brought in during early 2019. It means puppies will only be able to be purchased by the public directly from a breeder in the presence of the mother at the place where the puppy was born and bred, or available from a re-homing organisation. This has long been called for by campaigners including Boycott Dogs4Us which has held many protests outside the UK’s largest puppy selling supermarket, Dogs 4 Us on Agecroft Road.
It’s hoped that these new national standards will lead to higher standards of animal welfare and greater public protection. Following England’s lead, the Welsh government has also just announced its own consultation on banning the third-party puppy trade.
To read the full set of new regulations – click here
This article has been amended from the previously published text.