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Backyard breeders face crackdown


UNREGISTERED DOG breeders are being given six weeks by a local authority to obtain an official licence or face the threat of prosecution.

The Middlesbrough Council ‘amnesty’ was prompted by concerns that some unscrupulous dog breeders are over-breeding from bitches that are being bred for profit at the expense of their health and welfare.

Unregistered breeders have until 1 January to get a licence or face up to three months in prison or a £2,500 fine..

Information

For the past 12 months the council, working with the Kennel Club, has been gathering information on breeders. It is believed that Middlesbrough’s full-scale crackdown is the first of its kind by a local authority in England and which directly targets ‘back yard breeders’ and puppy farmers, who sell ‘cash crop’ breeds, often via local newspaper advertisements.

Such breeders never register for a license with their local authority as they are required to do by the Breeding and Sale of Dogs Act.

Licence

Councillor Barry Coppinger, executive member for Community Safety and Leisure, said: ‘The law requires that anyone who breeds dogs as a business has a licence from the council, so the welfare of the animals can be protected.

‘We are giving dog breeders six weeks to make sure that their paperwork is up to scratch. After then our officers will be enforcing the rules fairly but robustly.’

Kennel Club Secretary Caroline Kisko made it clear that Middlesbrough Council had not been working with the KC as such, but rather seeking information to help with their crackdown plans.

Reputable

Mrs Kisko said: ‘The Kennel Club routinely supplies information to local authorities with concerns about the number of litters a breeder is registering in a particular time frame since this is information which is already in the public domain via the Breed Records Supplement.

The Kennel Club hopes that all reputable breeders who do breed five or more litters a year will apply for a licence if they have not already done so. This will help to put puppy farmers, who have no regard for a dog’s health and welfare, out of business.’