Defra considering ban on third party sales of puppies


We've welcomed the announcement that Defra is considering a ban on the third party selling of puppies.

Labrador puppies in a puppy farm © RSPCA

We've long been calling for changes in legislation to better protect dogs and puppies.

Defra will be seeking evidence from us as well as other parties, before reviewing the information and making a decision on whether to introduce a ban later this year.

Offer better protection to puppies

Following the announcement by Defra on Thursday 7 February, our deputy chief executive Chris Wainwright said:

We're delighted that Defra is considering a ban on third party sales of puppies. We believe that cracking down on unscrupulous traders, who put profit ahead of animal welfare, will provide much-needed protection for prospective pet owners and puppies.

We've always said that an end to third party sales alone would not be enough to end the puppy trade crisis. So we're pleased that this is being looked at alongside enhanced licensing conditions for breeders which will come into force later this year.

Together, we hope these moves will offer better protection to puppies and their parents and also reduce the number of families duped by rogue traders in this illegal multi-million-pound trade.

Tougher legislation around animal welfare

Rottweiler in a puppy farm © RSPCA

This announcement is the latest in a string of positive moves by the Government to bring in tougher legislation around animal welfare.

In December, the Government announced these proposals which are now being laid before Parliament, to tighten regulations around the breeding and selling of puppies.

The legislation, which was put before parliament today will be agreed in the next 40 days and is due to come into force in October, will include:

  • Banning the sale of puppies and kittens under eight weeks old
  • Ensuring licensed breeders show puppies alongside their mother before a sale is made
  • Tackling the sale of weak, sick, and poorly socialised puppies and the breeding of unhealthy dogs
  • Introducing compulsory licensing for anyone breeding and selling dogs
  • Requiring puppy sales to be completed in the presence of the new owner (preventing online sales where buyers haven’t seen the animal first)
  • Insisting licensed dog breeders only sell puppies they have bred themselves

Complaints about the puppy trade on the rise

We've seen a year-on-year rise in the number of complaints about the puppy trade in England. In 2017 we received 4,224 complaints – the busiest year yet and a 152 percent increase from 2013, while our officers rescued 295 dogs from puppy farms over the last 12 months.

Rehome a rescue

If you're looking to get a dog why not consider rehoming a rescue from us. But if you want to buy a puppy you can download a free Puppy Contract to help ensure you buy a happy and healthy dog. 

We can't do it without you

We can only continue our work to end puppy farms with your help. If you would like to support our vital work donate what you can online.

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