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  1. ITV Report

Government crackdown on illegal puppy breeders and smugglers

The RSPCA has revealed that 2017 was its busiest year yet tackling the illegal puppy trade. Photo: RSPCA

The RSPCA has welcomed plans announced by the Government to crack down on dog breeders in England who put profits ahead of the health and welfare of the animals. The charity has revealed that 2017 was its busiest year yet tackling the illegal puppy trade.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has today announced proposals to tighten regulations around the breeding and selling of puppies in England - in a move which it’s hoped will help eradicate the underground, illegal puppy trade which is worth millions of pounds a year. It is the biggest change in pet vending for 66 years.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has today announced proposals to tighten regulations. Credit: RSPCA

The Government has announced that it is developing proposals, including:

  • Ensuring that licensed dog breeders must show puppies alongside their mother before a sale is made.
  • Tightening regulations so that puppy sales are completed in the presence of the new owner – preventing online sales where prospective buyers have not seen the animal first and only allowing sales of puppies from the premises.
  • Insisting licensed dog breeders can only sell puppies they have bred themselves.
  • Regulating adverts, including on the internet, by ensuring licensed sellers of all pets,including puppies, include the seller’s licence number, country of origin and country of residence of the pet in any advert for sale.
Under the new rules puppies bred by licensed breeders will have better protection under law. Credit: RSPCA

Under the new rules puppies bred by licensed breeders will have better protection under law; anyone selling a puppy, including online, will need to get a licence and display that licence number; and buyers will need to see the puppy with the mother at the place it was bred before being able to complete a purchase.

Regional puppy trade RSPCA calls statistics 2017 (up to December 20)

  • Total number of calls - England - 4,125
  • Bristol - 16
  • Cornwall - 46
  • Devon - 85
  • Dorset - 37
  • Gloucestershire - 77
  • Somerset - 69
  • Wiltshire - 54