New legislation will mean that anyone wishing to buy a puppy or kitten less than eight weeks old will have to deal directly with breeders or rehoming centres rather than unethical breeding farms.
Michael Gove, the Environment Secretary, announced the introduction of a ban on third-party puppy and kitten sales on Wednesday. This new law will make all breeders accountable for the animals in their care and help to prevent animal abuse.
New proposed legislation will also ban unethical puppy and kitten farms, which keep animals in cramped, dirty and unhealthy conditions and force them into repeated pregnancy.
Gove said: ‘A ban on third-party sales will ensure the nation’s much loved pets get the right start in life. People who have a complete disregard for pet welfare will no longer be able to profit from this miserable trade.’
Furthermore, the ban will help to prevent the sale of puppies and kittens in traditional pet shops. Breeders will only be able to sell puppies they have personally bred, and those selling them online will be required to provide full details of the animals’ origin and their own licence number.
The government will consult on the ban in the coming autumn. Teresa May has expressed a personal interest in the legislation, mentioning the two puppies that she owned as a child.
David Bowles, Director of Public Affairs at the RSPCA, told The Guardian: ‘We believe it’s vital to crack down on this underground trade to provide much needed protection to dogs and people, and welcome an end to the third-party sales of puppies.’
He said: ‘Coupled with the new licensing regime and proper enforcement, we believe the new system will help ensure better health and welfare for dogs, and will better protect people from being duped by unscrupulous sellers.’
Along with these new, stricter rules on puppy and kitten breeding, the government is introducing harsher prison sentences for those convicted of animal abuse. Offenders can now be imprisoned for up to five years.