Thank you for contacting me about the breeding and sale of pets.

Britain is indeed a nation of dog lovers – and it is consequentially vital that we should maintain the highest standards of animal welfare.

You will no doubt be aware that there is already a requirement for businesses breeding dogs or running pet shops to be licensed by their local council. This means that they must be able to demonstrate that the accommodation, food, water and bedding materials are of a sufficient standard, and that all reasonable precautions are taken to avoid – and prevent the spread of – infections. There are also proposals in play that will improve the requirement standard of welfare for dogs which are on sale by third parties.

These so-called ‘hobby breeders’ are also bound by the Animal Welfare Act (2006), which place a requirement on dog breeders ensure the welfare of an animal, and makes it an offence to cause unnecessary suffering. The punishment for breaking this law can be an unlimited fine, and/or a prison sentence.

You may also be interested to hear that Ministers are reviewing the laws that regulate dog breeding and pet sales. A part of this would plan would be to introduce a single ‘Animal Establishment Licence’. There has been a public consultation recently – which you can read more about here: https://consult.defra.gov.uk/animal-health-and-welfare/consultation-on-the-review-of-animal-licensing/ – and I have been assured that the Government’s final proposals will be outlined shortly.