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Consultation of Licensing of Animal Dealers

Although Scottish Kennel Club believes that dealing in puppies is an abhorrent trade, unfortunately the law recognises its legitimacy. Therefore, it would appear that regulation and/or licensing is required provided adequate, enforceable conditions are applied.

SKC welcomes the proposal that no puppy under the age of 8 weeks should be in the dealer’s hands unless accompanied by their mother. Therefore, this proposal would put an end to very young puppies – some only 5 weeks – being separated from their mothers and transported to different premises.

We note, however, a slight contradiction between the Consultation Document and the draft SSI (Scottish Statutory Instrument). A licence holder may not sell puppies less than 84 days to anyone who does not hold a licence under section 1(2) of the Breeding of Dogs Act 1973 or section 1(2) of the Pet Animals Act 1951. No mention is made in the SSI of the Breeding and Sale of Dogs (Welfare) Act 1999. In other words, the purchaser must hold these licences before they can purchase puppies under 12 weeks. This may well imply that selling puppies to individuals over the age of 12 weeks would be acceptable.

On the other hand, the Consultation Document does mention the 1999 Act and states that ‘they (dealers) only sell to licensed dog breeding establishments, dog rearing establishments or licensed pet shops’ with no age limit cited. Scottish Kennel Club would welcome this statement if it clearly means that dealers would no longer be able to sell individual puppies to individual owners.

The SSI also proposes a veterinary inspection in the 48 hour period immediately prior to sale. SKC believes that an earlier inspection should also be made within 7 days of the purchase by the dealer. Any parasitic infection can then be treated and followed up 48 hours before sale.

It is proposed that all puppies receive a unique number as a method of identification. SKC feels that would not be sufficient particularly for litters of self-coloured puppies and those breeds with similar markings.

It is a concern to SKC that the regulation and licensing of pet dealers would confer respectability on this trade. However, with strict conditions, it is to be hoped that few will comply and this outlet for puppy farmers would diminish.

Jean Fairlie
Parliamentary Liaison Officer – Scottish Kennel Club