Pet shops and puppy farming
Help us stamp out puppy farming in your local area
It is undisputed that some pet shops often obtain puppies from puppy farms (farms where mass breeding of puppies takes place for sale to the pet market). In such farms, puppies may be bred with little regard for their welfare, in particular, they are often sold when only a few weeks old, are likely to have medical problems, may be transported long distances and may have inaccurate paperwork relating to their health. A pet shop environment is also likely to expose young puppies to risk of disease such as parvo virus, as they would not have completed vaccination courses.
Local authorities enact and enforce a range of animal welfare legislation relating to establishments including pet shops under the Pet Animals Act 1951. They can use their powers in a very positive way to improve animal welfare standards and it is within the power of local authorities to refuse to license the sale of dogs from pet shops. They can set their own conditions against which they will issue a licence. This will form part of our campaign to end puppy farming and we need you to help!
Council Puts an End to Dog Sales in Pet Shops – Yours Can, too!
Councillors on Swindon Borough Council’s licensing committee voted unanimously in January 2009 to put an end to the sale of dogs from pet shops within its area. Using provisions within the Pet Animals Act which allow local authorities to set conditions for “securing all or any of the objects specified” in the Act, the council determined that, given the strong, proven link between puppy farms and pet shops, and the consequent likelihood that the animals were being sold at too early an age, were prone to sickness due to poor breeding and had been transported over long distances, dog sales fell foul of some conditions for licensing pet shops in the Act. We congratulate Swindon Borough Council on its stand and calls on other local authorities to follow its example.
Read more about the Pet Animals Act and the powers of local authorities
The Pet Animals Act 1951, as amended, provides in section 1(1) that no person may keep a pet shop except under the authority of a licence. Under section 1(2), local authorities are responsible for granting such licences.
In deciding whether to grant a licence, the local authority must have regard to certain factors (section 3). These include the need to ensure that animals are not sold at too early an age (section 1(3)(c)) and that all reasonable precautions are taken to prevent the spread among animals of infectious diseases (section 1(3)(d)). Local authorities are entitled to specify conditions in a pet shop licence which they consider necessary to secure these objectives.
Apart from refusing to license the sale of dogs from pet shops, local authorities also have the option to license this activity but to specify conditions in the licence in accordance with which dogs may be sold (which they consider necessary to secure the abovementioned objectives).
The keeping of a pet shop is defined in section 7(1) as the carrying on at any premises (including a private dwelling) of a business of selling animals as pets. Thus not only conventional pet shops require to be licensed but also dealers.