New Breeding of Dogs regulations (Wales) set 14 standards that breeders are expected to comply with which will overhaul the way they are expected to work.
The new Breeding of Dogs regulations (Wales) received the approval of most Assembly Members during Wednesday’s debate, despite a minority refusing to support, stating that they “did not go far enough”.
The Alliance has worked tirelessly on the campaign since 2008 setting out a clear message at the Assembly raising awareness of the difference between dogs kept for commercial breeding purposes and working dogs. This has been recognised by Welsh Government with the support of several Assembly Members voicing our concerns and we will see working dogs being recognised within the guidelines and particularly, a separate set of guidelines for dogs kept as packs.
From April 30th 2015, any person breeding three or more litters will require a licence, and accompanying that licence will be strict enrichment and enhancement programmes for puppies. 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. However, local authorities will have the discretion to lower this number should they feel it justified, eg if there are a number of litters on the ground and a variety of breeds with varying needs. Local authorities also have the power to appoint “others” as “inspectors”.
Originally, when there was a coalition Government in Wales there a move to pass an exemption for hunt kennels but a Labour administration rejected the motion and re-introduced hunt kennels to the equation. The regulations themselves have been laid and subsequently withdrawn on three occasions and have been at the forefront of four Ministerial portfolios.
Minister Rebecca Evans has confirmed that hounds kept in packs will not be subjected to guidance which would have required each hound to have an individual bed and at least two filled water bowls.
Rachel Evans Director for Wales said “This is a significant step forward to removing the stigma Wales has for so called “puppy farming”. The regulations are not ideal, as we are missing the vital component of microchipping which will follow in 2015. However, we have secured a fairer deal for working dogs, particularly hunt kennels and we can now move forward to making this legislation work.
“Licensing hunt kennels will not help to end puppy farming in Wales but we can certainly deal with these regulations as and when we need to. Hunt kennels in Wales who think they may need a licence should in the first instance contact me at the Countryside Alliance.”
Note to editors:
• The microchipping regulations have been omitted form the regulations to allow them to pass through without further delay
• Microchipping regulations were set to become law in March 2015, however they have been referred to the EU for consideration and this is likely to take at least another three months.
• The Countryside Alliance will work with Welsh Government officials to produce a separate set of guidelines for hunt kennels.
For more information please contact Rachel Evans on 01550 777997 or 07825 337978 or [email protected]