The Welfare of Animals (Dog Breeding Establishments and Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations (NI) 2013 will come into force on the 1 April 2013.
This legislation was agreed in the Northern Ireland Assembly last month, and sets out clear welfare standards which commercial dog breeders must adhere to. The legislation also gives council inspectors the power to take action and prosecute as necessary those breeders not complying to the new legislation.
The Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Michelle O’Neill said: “I appreciate that regulation alone will not stop so called “puppy farming”. This will take a concerted effort by members of the public, future dog owners, good breeders and enforcement agencies working together to identify breeders, licensed or unlicensed, who put financial gain before the welfare needs of their dogs and pups. However, the new enforcement powers and tough penalties will act as a strong deterrent to those taking part in illegal dog breeding activities, sending out a clear message that such activities will not be tolerated.”
The Minister continued: “I would call on all future dog owners never to buy a pup from a breeder who suggests meeting you in a car park or other public place to save you travelling to their breeding establishment. Always insist on seeing the puppies with their mother. Working together we can and will stop puppy farming.”
All the provisions in the new Regulations will have immediate effect for new dog breeders, however any dog breeders currently registered with their local Council will have six months, after the expiry of their current registration, to comply with a number of conditions of the licence which may require structural work to be undertake to the premises. New Dogs (Guard Dog Kennels) Regulations 2013 will also come into operation on the 1 April 2013.
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