The Government has announced that legislation to crack down on unscrupulous breeders and illegal puppy smuggling could be introduced in early 2018.
The proposals under consideration include compulsory licensing for anyone breeding and selling dogs, ensuring that licensed dog breeders show puppies alongside their mother before a sale is made, and tightening regulations to prevent online sales where prospective buyers have not seen the puppy before purchase.
Responding to the Government’s announcement, British Veterinary Association president John Fishwick said: “Responsible breeding and ownership of pets are among vets’ priorities, so we commend the Government’s plans for new and updated legislation around the buying and selling of pets, ensuring that its fit for purpose in the internet age we live.
“We also welcome the Government’s efforts to combat the illegal trade in puppies. As vets, we see first-hand the tragic consequences that can result from poorly bred and illegally imported puppies, with almost one third of vets reporting concerns about illegally imported puppies at Christmas 2016.”
With the Government’s proposals also including plans to address the breeding of unhealthy dogs and dogs with severe genetic disorders, Mr Fishwick said tackling the breeding of dogs with severe hereditary health problems is a top concern for vets, particularly of brachycephalic breeds such as Pugs and French bulldogs.
Mr Fishwick said: “We look forward to seeing how the Government’s proposals will be incorporated into legislation to ensure that there is no scope for unscrupulous breeding and selling practices to be driven underground. It is important that any legislation works hand in hand with proper enforcement and education of prospective pet owners.”