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RSPCA welcomes Defra’s announcement on third party sales of puppies

Animal welfare charity to work with Government as they consider new laws

The RSPCA has welcomed the announcement that Defra is considering a ban on the third party selling of puppies.

The animal welfare charity – the largest and oldest in the UK – has long been calling for changes in legislation to better protect dogs and puppies.

Defra will be seeking evidence from the RSPCA – whose officers are on the frontline tackling the underground puppy trade in England and Wales – as well as other parties, before reviewing the information and making a decision on whether to introduce a ban later this year.

Following the announcement by Defra today (Thursday 7 February), RSPCA deputy chief executive Chris Wainwright said: “We are delighted that Defra is considering a ban on third party sales of puppies. We believe that cracking down on unscrupulous traders, who put profit ahead of animal welfare, will provide much-needed protection for prospective pet owners and puppies.

“We have always said that an end to third party sales alone would not be enough to end the puppy trade crisis so we are pleased that this is being looked at alongside enhanced licensing conditions for breeders which will come into force later this year.

“Together, we hope these moves will offer better protection to puppies and their parents and also reduce the number of families duped by rogue traders in this illegal multi-million-pound trade.”

This announcement is the latest in a string of positive moves by the Government to bring in tougher legislation around animal welfare.

In December, the Government announced these proposals which are now being laid before Parliament, to tighten regulations around the breeding and selling of puppies.

The legislation, which was put before parliament today will be agreed in the next 40 days and is due to come into force in October, will include:

  • Banning the sale of puppies and kittens under eight weeks old;
  • Ensuring licensed breeders show puppies alongside their mother before a sale is made;
  • Tackling the sale of weak, sick, and poorly socialised puppies and the breeding of unhealthy dogs;
  • Introducing compulsory licensing for anyone breeding and selling dogs;
  • Requiring puppy sales to be completed in the presence of the new owner (preventing online sales where buyers haven’t seen the animal first);
  • Insisting licensed dog breeders only sell puppies they have bred themselves.

The RSPCA has seen a year-on-year rise in the number of complaints about the puppy trade in England. Last year (2017), the charity received 4,224 complaints – the busiest year yet and a 152% increase from 2013, while officers rescued 295 dogs from puppy farms over the last 12 months.

The RSPCA always encourages people to consider rehoming a rescue dog and encourage anyone thinking of taking on a dog to look on our website. But for those who want to buy a puppy they can download a free Puppy Contract to help ensure they buy a happy and healthy dog.

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