The Kennel Club (KC) has welcomed revised regulations on dog breeding in Wales, but remains “concerned” by the setting of a local licensing threshold that will target so-called “hobby breeders” rather than large-scale puppy organisations.

The KC welcomes overall measures, but remains concerned over licensing.

The club’s calls came as the Welsh Government debated the Animal Welfare (Breeding of Dogs; Wales) Regulations 2014 yesterday (December 9).

The club said it supports measures to make breeders have to demonstrate how they socialise puppies and provide environmental enrichment. Also, it welcomes that within the conditions of a breeding licence, the holder must ensure a breeding bitch does not give birth to more than one litter within a 12-month period and does not give birth to more than six litters in total.

However, despite this, said the KC, the regulations – set to come into force on April 30, 2015 – will make it a legal requirement for anyone breeding three or more litters within any 12-month period and/or those keeping three or more breeding bitches on their premises, to hold a breeding license from their local authority.

According to the KC, this reduction is likely to put additional pressure on already strained local authorities. Therefore, the club has offered to train local authority inspectors to the standard of its own Assured Breeder Scheme (ABS), or for local authorities to employ KC ABS assessors to inspect on their behalf. The club said it will continue to engage with the Welsh Government and local authorities on this.

KC secretary Caroline Kisko said Wales has long had a “poor reputation” when it comes to dog breeding, so the club is “pleased” the country’s Government has showed “commitment” to improving breeding standards.

“We are concerned, however, that reducing the legal threshold for the number of litters a breeder can produce without a licence may result in local authorities being overwhelmed with additional work and could see the new regulations becoming a burdensome task for local authorities rather than a useful tool.

“Furthermore, we do not want to see things being made difficult for responsible hobby breeders simply because they are ‘visible’, while large scale puppy farmers who hide their activities continue to flout the law and avoid restrictions.

“To assist local authorities, the club has offered to train local authority inspectors, which would enable KC ABS assessors to pass on best practice, ensuring inspectors are most effectively inspecting breeding premises.

“We look forward to progressing this.”

For more information on the regulations, visit the Welsh Assembly’s website.

Alternatively, for more information on the KC’s campaign to tackle puppy farming, visit the club’s website.

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