Welfare of Puppies and Dogs

Feb 15, 2018 | Articles, Assembly Business | 0 comments

Plenary 13th February 2018

14:25
Watch on Senedd TV
Gareth Bennett AM

Gareth Bennett AM

Party: United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP)

What steps is the Welsh Government taking to improve the welfare of puppies and dogs in Wales?

Carwyn Jones AM

Carwyn Jones AM

Title: First Minister of Wales Party: Welsh Labour

We take animal welfare seriously and expect others to do so too. The Animal Welfare (Breeding of Dogs)(Wales) Regulations 2014 introduced stricter criteria for licensed puppy breeders. We recently consulted on a revised code of practice for the welfare of dogs. The code reminds owners of their responsibilities and obligations.

Gareth Bennett AM

Gareth Bennett AM

Party: United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP)

Thanks for the previous initiatives. The UK Government is currently looking at bringing in tighter regulations for dog breeding in England. In the light of that, is it possible that we may need to look at tighter regulations again in Wales, given recent cases, such as Lucy’s law?

Carwyn Jones AM

Carwyn Jones AM

Title: First Minister of Wales Party: Welsh Labour

I have to say that the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs followed us. Actually, we were the first to introduce regulations of this sort, and DEFRA is now following suit. We do note the fact that DEFRA have issued a call for evidence on the banning of third-party sales, and we’ll consider our own position in due course, but this is certainly a situation where we were ahead of the game and others are following.

Joyce Watson AM

Joyce Watson AM

Title: Commissioner

Party: Welsh Labour

In recent years, the sale of puppies and dogs has moved to online sales, and many sick animals have been sold to unsuspecting people. Those sellers are very often not licensed to breed, and they’re certainly not putting the welfare of the animals first, but profit. The Blue Cross are calling for a registration and licensing system for anyone breeding or selling animals through any means whatsoever, so, whether that’s from home or from large-scale breeding establishments, to include online sellers. Do you think this is something that we might consider doing here in the Welsh Government?

Carwyn Jones AM

Carwyn Jones AM

Title: First Minister of Wales Party: Welsh Labour

I think there are two issues here: firstly, to examine whether there’s a need for further legislation, and, secondly, to ensure that enforcement is what we would want it and expect it to be. I know that local authorities in Wales have recently undertaken a data-capture survey on licensed dog-breeding premises in Wales, and that exercise has served as an opportunity to assess the standards currently applied to dog breeders in Wales, to identify and investigate examples of poor compliance, best practice, and also to improve intelligence to better inform enforcement intervention by local authorities. So, the enforcement, of course, is hugely important in terms of the current law.