The Pet Industry Federation (PIF) – the trade association for pet businesses – has created an audit for its puppy-selling retail members.

Constructed on the basis of PIF’s Pet Ethics Group puppy sales policy, and in consultation with a veterinarian, the audit aims to tackle the complex issues involved in protecting the welfare of puppies, according to PIF.

The audit requirements include the checking and cross-checking of paperwork, premises and puppies to ensure puppies are at least eight weeks old or more, are only sourced from licensed UK-only breeders, and are microchipped, vaccinated and wormed.

Nigel Baker, chief executive of PIF, said: “With defined and measurable criteria, the PIF Quality Assurance Standard for the Sale of Puppies in Pet Shops is an enormous step forward in the debate about puppy sales. “It means the industry now has a unique tool to support retailers and the well-being of puppies.”

Other requirements include guarding against impulse buying by including an enforced three-day wait between viewing a puppy and its purchase; interviewing the new owner regarding their knowledge, resources and responsibilities; and the retailer will need to have achieved the Level 3 City and Guilds Pet Store Management qualification.

“This audit is now a prerequisite of membership for retailers selling puppies and enables us to have confidence they are maintaining the highest standards in their businesses,” said Mr Baker.

“Businesses that have not wanted to take part in the audit process have had to leave membership, which is unfortunate, but it was a decision the board felt was necessary to set the standard over this high-profile issue.

“We believe other stakeholder groups will be encouraged by this initiative and we appeal to them to work with the federation to tackle the problems that sadly continue to exist in the marketplace, such as the illegal importing of puppies, the increased rabies risk and the resources needed for satisfactory enforcement.”
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