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Stronger protection for puppies and kittens in Wales comes into force

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New legislation which protects puppies and kittens and provides the purchaser with an assurance the animals have been bred on the premises from which they are being sold, comes into force from today (Friday, September 10).

It is now illegal for a commercial seller to sell a puppy or kitten they have not bred themselves at their own premises and they must ensure the mother is present.  From now on puppies and kittens can only be purchased from where they were bred or from a rescue or rehoming centre. 

This provides additional protection for the animals and reduces the risk of disease and trauma. 

Unregulated third party sale of puppies and kittens can be associated with poorer welfare conditions for the animals compared with animals purchased directly from a breeder. 

Puppies and kittens sold through a third party  may have to travel long distances and change hands many times while experiencing several new environments at a very young age.  This has the potential to contribute to an increased risk of health problems, stress and lack of socialisation.

These new regulations will close loopholes, creating discretion on enforcement by local authorities who will work with key organisations involved in either rehoming or rescue activities. Through a robust Business Test, they provide Local Authorities with a channel to assess whether animals are being kept purely for financial gain, and aim to improve animal welfare through supporting informed decision-making by the purchasing public. 

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To mark the coming in to force of the regulations the Minister for Rural Affairs and North Wales, and Trefnydd, Lesley Griffiths, visited the Dogs Trust’s new centre in Cardiff.

Lesley Griffiths MS visiting the new Dogs Trust rehoming centre in Cardiff

She said: “There has been a renewed focus on our pets during the pandemic, as they have brought companionship, support and joy to many.  It is our duty to do what we can to ensure as many of our pets as possible have the best start in life, and are not subjected to unacceptable conditions which can cause disease and trauma.

“The new regulations coming in to force will help to encourage respectful and responsible attitudes, particularly the developing attitudes of children and young people who are the future pet owners in Wales. They will also raise awareness of licensed premises and their eligibility to sell pets, and will empower Local Authorities to take action if they have concerns about how puppies and kittens are being bred and sold.

“I’d like to thank everyone who took part in preparing this piece of work, including vets, Local Authorities, animal welfare charities and members of the public, whose support on this important piece of legislation has been invaluable.”

Paula Boyden, Veterinary Director at Dogs Trust said: “We’re pleased that a ban on the Third Party Sale of puppies and kittens in Wales comes into force today. The welfare of our nation’s dogs is our highest priority, and this is a really important step in helping to eradicate the sale of puppies bred in poor conditions. 

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“However, this is just one piece of the puzzle to putting a stop to this awful trade. Dogs Trust welcomes working with the Welsh Government, and our colleagues in the animal welfare sector, to look at the necessary additional measures needed to ensure the ban is robust and enforceable. We hope this will include regulation of rehoming organisations and sanctuaries, full traceability of all puppies being bred and sold, and a strengthening of the pet travel scheme. 

“We look forward to working with the Minister to better safeguard the welfare of breeding dogs and puppies sold in Wales.”

 

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Llanelli

Unlicensed Llanelli dog breeder made thousands of pounds selling puppies illegally

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An illegal dog breeder from Llanelli made thousands of pounds by selling his puppies on Gumtree and Free Ads websites.

Llanelli Magistrates Court heard that unlicensed Ashleigh Price of Llwynhendy pocketed between £34k and £57k from the sales of 10 litters over a 16-month period.

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It is illegal to advertise three or more litters of puppies from the same premises within a 12-month rolling period without a dog breeding licence.

In a prosecution led by Carmarthenshire County Council, the court was told that council officers visited the premises in Parc Richard following complaints received from Citizens Advice Consumer Services in July last year that the 25-year-old had kennels in his garden and that he was illegally breeding dogs.

Checks with both websites revealed four accounts in Price’s name and two in his wife’s and that litters made up of Jack Russell’s, Labradors, Cocker Spaniels and West Highland Terriers were advertised on the sites between April 2020 and November 2021. Most of the adverts stated they were family pets.

In mitigation, Price said that he wanted to make more money due to him being on weekly benefits of £120 and that he acted alone and set up accounts in his wife’s name. He denied making £35k saying that he ‘haggled’ the price and that some of the dogs were given away to family and friends. He also said he had no record of how much the dogs were sold for.

Price was fined £500, ordered to pay £750 costs and £50 victim surcharge.

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Llanelli

£1400 fine for Llanelli pet owner after neighbours suffer horrendous smell from dog mess

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A Llanelli pet owner who repeatedly ignored requests to clear up her dog’s mess has been ordered to pay nearly £1400.

Llanelli Magistrates heard how the garden of Samantha Davies of Stryd Bennett in Llanelli was largely covered in dog mess, waste items and filth resulting in an horrendous odour and affecting neighbours nearby.

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In a prosecution brought by Carmarthenshire County Council the court was told there had been a number of complaints from neighbours in the area and several warnings given by council officers of the state of the rear garden.

In April 2021 Davies was issued with an Abatement Notice under Section 80 of the Environment Protection Act by Carmarthenshire County Council ordering her to remove the waste and clean up the area within 28 days.

Five weeks later officers attended the property and found that the garden was as bad as ever and issued a further letter to Davies reminding her of the notice requirements. When the officer returned to the property on June 17 the garden was cleaner and had less waste.

However, the council received further complaints four weeks later of around 20 to 30 bags of dog excrement stacked up against a neighbour’s fence which were releasing an horrendous odour. Officers revisited the property and also found that a large numbers of stools were covering the patio.

Officers visited the property again on September 9 and February 16 this year and found the garden was still unkempt and patio slabs were covered with faeces with some appearing to have been there for several months.

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Davies was not present in court but admitted breaching the notice twice and was fined £300 for each breach. She was ordered to pay £701 costs and £60 victim surcharge.

The notice is still active.

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Environment

Campaign urging people to be responsible around coastal wildlife launched by RSPCA and police in Wales

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A campaign to stop people behaving irresponsibly near marine animals such as seals, dolphins and nesting birds is being rolled out in Wales.

Operation Seabird is a joint campaign between the RSPCA, all four Wales police forces – North Wales Police, South Wales Police, Gwent Police and Dyfed Powys Police – and other partner organisations such as Natural Resources Wales.

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The first action day on 14 April saw RSPCA officers patrolling areas in Colwyn Bay/Angel Bay and Abersoch with North Wales Police, and aimed to raise awareness and educate people about how vital it is not to disturb the mammals and birds of Britain’s coastal areas and to enjoy watching them from afar.

RSPCA animal rescue officer and wildlife officer Ellie West took part in the first action day with Dyfed Powys Police in Pembrokeshire.

The RSPCA say that sadly, common disturbances to wildlife include speedboats, kayaks and paddleboards deliberately getting too close to seals, dolphins and cetaceans. This often causes stress to the animals and can result in the females suffering spontaneous abortions or babies being abandoned by their mothers.

The animal charity say that other issues include dogs off leads disturbing nesting birds or seals, litter including plastic rings severely injuring seals, wild camping beach barbecues and camp fires causing significant damage on the beach, and quad bikes or 4x4s vehicles riding over nesting areas.

There have even been incidents where beachgoers have got too close to wild animals for the sake of a selfie. Users of boats and other watercraft can also cause severe injury to some marine mammals if they collide with them while trying to watch them.

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Sergeant Matthew Langley of Dyfed Powys Police’s Rural Crime Team said: “The aim of Op Seabird is not that of enforcement but of engagement and education with the public to ensure they enjoy our beautiful coastline safely and responsibly.

“Last year we saw a large increase in disturbance offences mainly due to a certain celebrity walrus who came to holiday in Tenby! It is important for the public to also be aware that by disturbing wildlife they may be committing offences under the Wildlife and Countryside Act.”

RSPCA inspector Andy Broadbent said: “We want people to enjoy watching our marine wildlife but this should be done at a safe and sensible distance without disturbing the animals.

“Every year, the RSPCA’s wildlife centres have to treat and rehabilitate a wide range of wildlife – including seals and seabirds – which have been injured or orphaned due to human disturbance.

“While last year, we may remember Wally the Walrus who visited Pembrokeshire for a long period of time. It was really concerning when we had reports of some people trying to get close to him by using jet skis or paddle and surf boards. It wasn’t in his best interest and we always urge people to act responsibly when they see any marine animal.

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“If people have concerns about an animal, they should keep their distance and contact the RSPCA helpline on 0300 1234 999 (daily 7am-10pm).”

Operation Seabird is urging people visiting Britain’s coastline to maintain a significant distance from wildlife, both at sea and around the coast; never get close enough to touch animals or take selfies; read signs and stick to paths; and keep dogs on leads where instructed to do so and keep dogs under control at all times.

As the holiday season begins, high visibility patrols by the RSPCA, local police forces and wildlife groups will target coastal areas where people and animals interact, such as beaches with seal colonies, dolphins swimming offshore or sites with nesting seabirds.

Sergeant Liam Jones of the North Wales Police Rural Crime Team said: “Op Seabird Cymru seeks to engage key partners to work with the police throughout Wales to educate those people who use our coastal areas and seas and to enable them to enjoy our wildlife safely and without disturbance.

“Over the years we have seen an increase in people using our coastal areas and being unaware of the effect that they can have on coastal birds and mammals if they act irresponsibly. A disturbance can have a devastating effect on certain species and their habitats and with simple education and engagement we can help prevent it from happening.”

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Dog attacks can kill seals, as well as posing a risk to the dogs themselves from bites that can become infected from the bacteria that live inside a seal’s mouth. Seal pups disturbed by curious people will move off into the sea, using valuable energy which they need to survive and grow. Birds such as little terns travel thousands of miles to breed in very specific UK coastal points.

They have one annual chance to nest and produce young, but if disturbed this opportunity is lost, and due to their ground nesting habit they are particularly vulnerable to dogs, and careless feet.

Andy added: “While our beautiful beach and coastal areas are great to have fun in, they are natural habitats and breeding grounds for many native and migratory animals, including several species on the endangered list. We humans share this space, and we can easily and unwittingly cause disturbance, fear, and distress.

“For many tourists it can be surprising and exciting to see marine mammals, including seals and their pups which will normally rest on the beach at various times of year, as well as ground nesting birds which are usually resident between March to September. But as tempting as it is to approach them, we would respectfully ask that everyone stays at a distance and keeps their dogs on leads and under control.

“Our message is to ‘Observe, Don’t Disturb’ as people visit Britain’s wonderful coastline.”

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