Stronger Protection for Puppies and Kittens in Wales comes into force

Written by on 10th September 2021

New legislation which protects puppies and kittens and provides the purchaser with an assurance the animals have been bred on the premises from which they are being sold has now come into force. 

It is now illegal for a commercial seller to sell a puppy or kitten they have not bred themselves at their own premises and they must ensure the mother is present.  From now on puppies and kittens can only be purchased from where they were bred or from a rescue or rehoming centre.

This provides additional protection for the animals and reduces the risk of disease and trauma.

Unregulated third party sale of puppies and kittens can be associated with poorer welfare conditions for the animals compared with animals purchased directly from a breeder.

Puppies and kittens sold through a third party  may have to travel long distances and change hands many times while experiencing several new environments at a very young age.  This has the potential to contribute to an increased risk of health problems, stress and lack of socialisation.

These new regulations will close loopholes, creating discretion on enforcement by local authorities who will work with key organisations involved in either rehoming or rescue activities. Through a robust Business Test, they provide Local Authorities with a channel to assess whether animals are being kept purely for financial gain, and aim to improve animal welfare through supporting informed decision-making by the purchasing public.

To mark the coming in to force of the regulations the Minister for Rural Affairs and North Wales, and Trefnydd, Lesley Griffiths, visited the Dogs Trust’s new centre in Cardiff.

She said: “There has been a renewed focus on our pets during the pandemic, as they have brought companionship, support and joy to many.  It is our duty to do what we can to ensure as many of our pets as possible have the best start in life, and are not subjected to unacceptable conditions which can cause disease and trauma.

“The new regulations coming in to force will help to encourage respectful and responsible attitudes, particularly the developing attitudes of children and young people who are the future pet owners in Wales. They will also raise awareness of licensed premises and their eligibility to sell pets, and will empower Local Authorities to take action if they have concerns about how puppies and kittens are being bred and sold.

“I’d like to thank everyone who took part in preparing this piece of work, including vets, Local Authorities, animal welfare charities and members of the public, whose support on this important piece of legislation has been invaluable.”

Paula Boyden, Veterinary Director at Dogs Trust said: “We’re pleased that a ban on the Third Party Sale of puppies and kittens in Wales comes into force today. The welfare of our nation’s dogs is our highest priority, and this is a really important step in helping to eradicate the sale of puppies bred in poor conditions. 

“However, this is just one piece of the puzzle to putting a stop to this awful trade. Dogs Trust welcomes working with the Welsh Government, and our colleagues in the animal welfare sector, to look at the necessary additional measures needed to ensure the ban is robust and enforceable. We hope this will include regulation of rehoming organisations and sanctuaries, full traceability of all puppies being bred and sold, and a strengthening of the pet travel scheme. 

“We look forward to working with the Minister to better safeguard the welfare of breeding dogs and puppies sold in Wales.” 

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