“We fully support initiatives to clamp down on unscrupulous breeders and allow good breeders to demonstrate their own value to the puppy-buying public, so we are particularly pleased to learn these regulations have been approved,” said BVA president Peter Jones.
“All too often veterinary surgeons are faced with a client holding a new puppy with health, welfare or behaviour problems, by which time it’s too late.”
Together with colleagues in the welfare and rehoming charities, the veterinary profession has long lobbied for better legislation on dog breeding.
President of the BVA’s Northern Ireland branch Sandra Dunbar said: “We are delighted to see such a high level of political commitment to canine issues in Northern Ireland and while we would like to have seen the regulations to go further in some areas, particularly on the issue of health testing, we strongly welcome the new legislation.
“Sadly, vets have to deal with the devastating consequences of poor breeding practices on a daily basis. The way in which a puppy is bred and how it is treated and socialised during the first weeks of its life has a huge impact on its health and temperament, so all measures that seek to improve the way in which puppies are bred and sold are vitally important.”
Mr Jones concluded: “As vets, we also have a role to play in helping the puppy-buying public to understand how to select a happy, healthy puppy from a good breeder. This new legislation provides a timely opportunity to urge both buyers and sellers to follow the guidelines and advice set out in the AWF/RSPCA Puppy Contract and Puppy Information Pack.”