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Sale of puppies under eight weeks to be made illegal

Thursday February 2nd 2017

Dog breeders who sell puppies under eight weeks old will face a prison sentence under new rules to tackle irresponsible breeders.

Both commercial and smaller breeders - including those who sell puppies on the internet - will have to meet a new "strict welfare criteria" as part of new legislation announced by the Environment Secretary, Andrea Leadsom.

Anyone selling more than three litters or more per year will need to apply for a formal licence, the MP has said.

Mrs Leadsom says the Government is cracking down on the worst offenders by strengthening the dog breeding licence and giving councils the power they need to take action.

She said: "Everyone who owns a pet or is looking to introduce one into their life will want to know that the animal has had the very best start to life.

"Yet for thousands of puppies born each year to irresponsible breeders, from smaller operations to larger puppy farms, their first weeks are spent in cramped and squalid conditions without the care and attention they need."

While saying the move was a "step in the right direction", Neil Parish MP, chairman of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, expressed disappointment that the licencing rules will only apply to breeders selling three litters or more per year.

"While I welcome a new licensing regime for breeders... the majority of animal charities we heard from advocated that anyone selling two litters or more per year should be licensed as a breeder.

"This is a lost opportunity to bring more breeders under the licensing regime."

Copyright Press Association 2017