Charity Jerry Green Dog Rescue, which has rescue centres in Lincolnshire, Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire, is calling on fellow animal lovers to put pressure on the Government to ban the sale of puppies by pet shops and other third-party dealers.
Gill Skinner, Volunteer Co-ordinator and Campaigner at Jerry Green Dog Rescue, said: “As a charity dedicated to the care, welfare and responsible rehoming of dogs, we welcome any review of the law which makes selling dogs illegal for anyone other than licensed breeders and charities that rehouse abandoned dogs.
“Having previously campaigned for an end to puppy farming, we are keen to support Defra’s recommendations to ban the sale of puppies in this way. More regulation is essential if we are to tackle the unscrupulous dealers in this dreadful trade.
“In particular, licensing of dog breeders and sellers must be tightened up to ensure that everyone involved in the sale or rescue of dogs is required to demonstrate the highest level of mental and physical dog welfare standards, which are also robustly policed by more stringent local authority requirements.
“Dogs should be classed as sentient beings and that the law, established in the Animal Welfare Act of 2006, must be applied to all breeders or rescue establishments.”
Currently, breeders only need to have a dog breeding licence to operate, which allows them to legally produce five or more litters a year from the same breeding bitch. The conditions of the licence stipulate that dogs should live in suitable accommodation, receive adequate food, water and bedding, be protected from the spread of disease and get enough exercise.
However, there are no rules for the amount of time that mothers and puppies are handled or played with in their early life – both of which could help breeders identify health abnormalities or spot behavioural problems which could lead to complications down the line.
Jacqui Bell, CEO at Jerry Green Dog Rescue, said: “Alarmingly, the standard dog breeding licence doesn’t put anywhere near enough emphasis on the long-term welfare of the breeding bitches and their pups.
“And it’s deeply concerning how easy it is for people to order and pay for a so called ‘tailor-made puppy’ online and have it delivered straight to their door. We’re already starting to see a new trend in ‘designer dogs’ coming into rescue centres once the physical and emotional hardships placed on their breed start to show.
“Unsuspecting owners can end up with pets with serious health issues. When they struggle to cope they often turn to us for advice and in some cases for rehoming.
“I would urge anyone thinking about getting a dog to get in touch with the team here at Jerry Green Dog Rescue to find out what sort of dog would be the best match for your lifestyle before making the commitment, people would probably be surprised at who turns out to be their best match!”