Animal welfare update (Agenda item 6)
To provide a verbal update on animal welfare and Lucy’s Law. A presentation will be provided by Donna Hall, Licensing & Business Support Manager.
Donne Hall, the Licensing & Business Support Manager provided Members with an update and presentation on animal welfare in respect of Lucy’s Law; named after a spaniel called Lucy who was used for breeding on a puppy farm in Wales.
With effect from 6 April 2020, licensed commercial traders would not be allowed to sell kittens or puppies as pets if they were less than six months old and had not been bred by the seller.
It would also mean that anyone wanting to buy or adopt one aged under 6 months old would need to deal directly with the breeder or animal rehoming centres.
Additionally, from 6 April 2020 a financial threshold would be introduced to limit the number of puppies/kittens that could be sold each year – the threshold amount was still under discussion. These limitations would hopefully put a stop to irresponsible and exploitive breeding practices.
Councillor Morton asked how the Licensing Team monitored these licensable activities. Members were informed that licensed breeders were already monitored and in respect of Lucy’s Law the Team could now enforce and monitor the sale of puppies.
The new law should help to:
· Prevent exploited and mistreated pets (mothers/puppies and kittens)
· Tackle illegal imports
· Reduce the risk of disease
· Encourage licensing and controls
· Promote responsible advertising; and
· Raise public awareness.
It was noted that there was a requirement that the breeders licence number was advertised with the sale of their puppies.
The role of Members was to:
· Report any concerns to the Licensing Team
· Support its communications messages
· Hold Panel meetings in respect of an animal welfare activity or establishment.
Councillor Brame asked if there would be any special Member training requirements required for such Panel meetings. Members were informed that the principles were similar to the Panel meetings already held for taxis and licensed premises. It was more about questioning techniques and if Members felt that they required such training or on any licensing topic the Team would be happy to oblige.
The number of licences currently held by Breckland Council was highlighted; this had been at the request of the Chairman, Councillor Marion Chapman-Allen.
Breckland Council currently licensed:
· 16 dog breeders
· 33 animal boarding kennels
· 6 exhibiting animals ( such as walking alpacas, jousting, falconry etc)
· 4 hiring of horses
· 14 pet shops
Councillor Moreton felt that the number of dog breeders could increase. The Licensing & Business Support Manager pointed out that such activities would probably increase and would have an impact on resources.
Councillor Kiddell felt that this new legislation could also have an impact on the animal re-homing centres as some breeders might not want so many dogs if a financial threshold was introduced.
In response to questions as to whether Breckland Council would be promoting licensed breeders and animal re-homing centres to prospective purchasers on the website, and if there was a list that the public could access that showed the breeders in Breckland that were licensed, Members were informed that both would be included on the website but education was key and the story behind Lucy’s Law would be incorporated.