➢ Why was Government intervention necessary in changing the pre-existing legislation?
The existing licensing regimes for animal related activities pre-date the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and were not consistent with their standards, or with each other. The prime objective was to improve animal welfare by bringing five animal activities licensing schemes up to date and in line with the requirements of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
Despite providing guidance to local authority inspectors to raise welfare standards, many did not adopt the guidance, nor did it have a big enough impact on welfare principles. The guidance underpinning the new regulations is ministerial guidance and consequently has to be followed by local authorities. Therefore, it was concluded that the best option to effectively raise standards with so many independent businesses was to update the legislation to make it less complex and unnecessarily burdensome and more transparent and efficient.
➢ What is the Animal Welfare legislation which became Law on October 1st 2018 and has it changed?
The legal documentation relating to changes in the law for dog breeding applies only to England, with no changes to existing breeding regulations currently to be made in Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland.
The new regulations cover dog breeders, dog and cat boarders, pet vendors, those running horse riding establishments and those exhibiting animals in the course of a business.
✓ A breeding licence will be required for anyone breeding three or more litters and selling at least one puppy in a 12 month period. This is a reduction from the previous litter test of five or more litters.
✓ Anyone in the business of selling dogs (even one or two litters in a 12 month period) may require a licence. This is not new and has been in place since 1999. The Government provides guidance on what local authority inspectors should consider when assessing whether a breeder meets the business test*.
✓ A new star rating system is being introduced based on welfare conditions and breeding history which has been designed to reward high performing breeding establishments and to give further help to puppy buying public in identifying good breeders.
a) a breeder’s legal responsibility under the AW Regulations is to apply for a licence to breed dogs if they breed more than three or more litters and selling at least one puppy in a 12 month period (a reduction for the previous litter test of five or more litters)
If you breed any litter of puppies with the intent of making a profit, or earn commission or a fee for doing so, then as before, you will be viewed by the Local Authority, as with any other activity where money changes hands, as a ‘business’. You are probably not trading if you sell occasionally, or your base intention is not to make a profit.
DEFRA have made it clear that there is no intention to target what it regards as ‘hobby’ breeders i.e. those who breed dogs to grow into a future show prospect and/or compete in performance activities appropriate to the breed.
✓ Once you cross the £1,000 trading income threshold, then income should be declared to HMRC, at which point costs incurred will also be assessed to determine whether tax is payable or not. Hence the (legal) requirement to keep accurate and up to date financial records of all income and expenditure in carrying out trading.
A local authority may grant a licence for a period of one, two or three years as part of a star rating licensing model i.e. a 1* breeder will be inspected more frequently than a 5* breeder. A 1* breeder will need to renew their licence annually, while a 5* breeder will only need to renew their licence every three years.
DEFRA’s guidance advises breeders on steps they will need to take to achieve a 5 star rating and be awarded a 3 year licence. A lower star rating means breeders will be inspected more often and pay a higher licence fee.
DEFRA recognises that breeders who are members of a UKAS Accredited Scheme such as the Kennel Club’s Assured Breeder Scheme and who have been accredited under the scheme for 3 or more consecutive years should be classified as a ‘low risk’ breeder and be given a three year licence period.
Please note, however, that some of the ‘higher standards’ are greater than the KC ABS e.g. ABS allow two caesareans, whereas the higher standard only allows one. Failure to achieve all the ‘higher standards’ will result in a rating of less than 5*
The current guidance, which was based on the Model CIEH Licensing Conditions, https://manualzz.com/doc/20812753/cieh-model-licence-conditions-and-guidance-fordog-breedi will now be linked to a ‘star rating’ system which should be beneficial to responsible breeders. The new licensing conditions have been drafted to differentiate between those breeding within their home and those who have purpose-built breeding facilities.
Any advertisement for the sale of a dog must include your licence number, the issuing Local Authority, a photograph which identifies the dog being advertised, and the age of the dog being advertised. Those who do not require a licence are not obliged to include any of this information.