During the past few months I have been asked by the Pet Care Trust to develop a Code of Practice for dog breeders who have to be licensed under the conditions set out in the Breeding and Sale of Dogs (Welfare) Act 1999 writes David Cavill.
This code is quite separate from the Kennel Club's Accredited Breeder Scheme that is designed, primarily for those who fall outside the scope of the 1999 Act. The reason that they are different is because under European law, no legislation may be introduced that is a restriction on 'trade' and so the PCT Code must take into account that puppies are bred and sold on to third parties prior to being sold to its long term owner. Within the world of dogs there is agreement that a puppy is best sold direct to its first home and this is my view too.
However, the reality is that any Code that is a schedule to an Act of Parliament must allow for a trade in puppies however 'wrong' any individual feels that this is.
What I have tried to do is to concentrate on the care and welfare of breeding stock throughout their lives and puppies until they arrive at their permanent home. The Pet Care Trust has also made suggestions to DEFRA on ways in which the new Bill can ensure that the Code is stringently and fairly implemented across the country.
The Pet Care Trust's draft code will be submitted to the department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) as a proposed schedule to the new Animal Welfare Bill, a draft of which is due to be published in April 2004 for consultation.
I have had more correspondence and input into this proposal that anything else I have been involved with for many years and the current draft of the Code has been scrutinised by many organisations and individuals. However, I am anxious that all of us in the world of dogs have the widest possible input and so if anyone one would like a copy I will be pleased to send them one (via e-mail only) for their suggestions and comments that should be with me by 18th November. I can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org