The RSPCA has said it is giving a “cautious welcome” to new regulations laid by the Welsh government which aim to end third party selling of young puppies and kittens in Wales.
Under the new proposals, anyone who wants to sell pets in Wales has to meet minimum animal welfare standards for the first time, with a new licensing scheme introduced for pet sellers. This establishes that puppies or kittens under six months of age not bred by the licence holder cannot be sold.
Licenses must be renewed annually, and are based on existing animal welfare legislation – meaning how sellers treat their animals and comply with the Animal Welfare Act will be a central consideration in whether to grant a seller a licence.
However, the RSPCA is seeking assurances that rescue centres that rehome animals will be exempt from the ruling – to ensure rescued puppies and kittens can continue to be rehomed.
The charity is also concerned that the regulations “don’t address potential loopholes” – as has been seen since a similar ban came into force in England in April 2020, “including third party sellers reinventing themselves as rescues or saying they bred puppies and kittens in another country to circumvent the ban”.
David Bowles, head of public affairs RSPCA said: “The publication of this new law is an important moment for Wales’ puppies and kittens.
“Wales is the centre of dog breeding in the UK, many of which are bred under poor existing standards, so we welcome the law which mandates anyone who commercially sells an animal has to meet minimum welfare standards.“
He added: “We also welcome the commitment to ban third party selling of puppies and kittens but are concerned the lessons on this ban in England have not been learnt and unscrupulous dealers could continue to operate.”