The Animal Welfare Regulations 2018

See also our blog post.

The following is written by Shelley Tomsett:

The Animal Welfare Regulation 2018: The breeding and selling of your litters and how it affects you.

In October 2018, new Regulations come into force around a number of activities involving pet animals in England. These include Dog Breeding, Dog and Cat Boarding, Selling Animals as Pets, Hiring out Horses and Keeping or Training Animals for Exhibition. In regards to Dog Breeding, there will be a Schedule of conditions that breeders will have to meet in order to obtain a licence and a set of Guidance notes on how they will be measured in doing this. The scope will widen, meaning more breeders will require a licence. This will have significant changes to the way that breeders and local authorities operate with a requirement to meet set welfare conditions. The following points set out the key changes.

1. The new scope requires that a licence is obtained by anyone “breeding three or more litters of puppies in any 12-month period.”
The new Regulations reduce the threshold from 5 litters before requiring a licence to 3 litters.
The only exclusion to this is if the person carrying on the activity provides documentary
evidence that none of them have been sold (whether as puppies or as adult dogs).

2. The new scope requires that anyone breeding dogs and advertising a business of selling dogs obtain a licence.
The three litters are not the only reason why a licence could be required. The new Regulations set out that a licence will be required if there is any commercial selling of puppies and kittens.
Indeed, it states that a licence will be applicable if the subject:
(a) Makes any sale by, or otherwise carries on, the activity with a view to making a profit.
or
(b) Earns any commission or fee from the activity, irrespective of the number of
litters produced per year.

This is not restricted to registered businesses – individuals can also be classed as a business, depending on the extent of their activities.

Again, breeders that breed a small number of puppies (i.e. less than 3 litters per year), and that sell them without making a profit will be exempt, however the sale of even a small number of puppies with a high sale price would flag up the need for a licence.

3. The Pet Vending Schedule which is separate from the Dog Breeding Schedule sets out that those who are not breeders but are in the business of selling dogs will require a licence.
It is not only breeders who will require a licence, those who are moving puppies around will require a licence and anyone charging a fee or commission for a puppy will also be captured.
There is a real focus on capturing traders and those who are not operating to the same
standards as the good breeders. Additionally, the Government is considering whether to ban all third party sales of puppies and this could mean only breeders will be able to sell puppies going forward.

4. The new legislation is structured around the requirement to meet the 5 welfare needs and will involved proving to the Inspector that you have robust procedures in place.
The Schedules are set out under the following structure: Suitable Environment, Suitable Diet, Monitoring of Behaviour & Training of Animals, Animal Handling & Interaction, Protection from Pain, Suffering, Disease & Injury. Beneath these are conditions to meet to provide those requirements and examples include the need to provide the right diet appropriate to the age and condition of the dog, the need to interact with, and socialise, puppies, the need to provide adequate resources such as toys, beds, bowls etc for the number of dogs under the licence.

There also needs to be an emergency plan in place. Licensees will have to have
Written Procedures around the cleaning of the licensed facilities, their feeding regimes,
prevention and control of the spread of disease and monitoring and ensuring the health and welfare of their dogs. This can be quite simply set out for those breeding from a home environment and is really just a record of how you manage your dogs.

5. There are new requirements being introduced around the health and welfare of the puppy.