Countryside Alliance Director for Wales Rachel Evans writes: It has taken almost seven years, three consultations and four Government Ministers to finally bring forward the Breeding of Dogs Regulations (Wales) Bill. The Countryside Alliance has been actively involved in the process every step of the way and took the lead on involving other rural organisations to speak up for the working dog. Whilst there is no clear-cut exemption for working dogs, the Alliance has without a doubt achieved recognition for them from Assembly Members and policy writers, highlighting the way that working dogs are kept and worked, and the importance of hounds to be kept as pack animals with their living accommodation and housekeeping to remain in the format that will allow this. It is perfectly acceptable for gundogs and terriers to be happily housed in outdoor kennels, but we needed to demonstrate this to those not familiar with the working dog.
Successful participation in the process resulted with the current Minister Rebecca Evans recognising that working dogs are more often than not kept differently and she assured the chamber during December’s debate that their welfare needs will be taken in to account in the guidance issued to local authorities. The Alliance also put forward a motion for specific wording related to hunt kennels in the guidelines to which Government has agreed.
From April 30th 2015, any person keeping three or more bitches (that haven’t been spayed) and who breeds three or more litters in any 12 month period will require a licence. Accompanying that licence will be strict enrichment and enhancement programmes for puppies and, of course, an annual fee. Coupled with the licence comes a strict minimum staff-to-dog ratio requirement of one full time member of staff to every twenty adult dogs.
Over the next three months we will be advising our members on the detail of the regulations and will publish the final set of Government guidelines when they are ready. In the meantime, members can access information on the regulations from me, Rachel Evans by contacting me via phone or e-mail. Please have your membership number to hand. Those who are not members and who wish to join to be kept informed of the regulations and other Assembly business can join via our website or by calling 0207 840 9200 and selecting option 1.