Commenting on the report of recommendations to the Welsh Government by the Wales Animal Health and Welfare Framework Group on Wales’ dog breeding laws, RSPCA Assistant Director for External Relations Claire Lawson said:

“While the introduction of new dog breeding laws in 2014 marked a big step forward for canine welfare, RSPCA Cymru has long highlighted the need for future improvements to protect stud dogs, breeding bitches and puppies across the country – which is why this urgent review was so important.

“RSPCA Cymru was pleased to input into this review, via our role on the Animal Welfare Network for Wales. We’re delighted that a whole host of the AWNW’s views have been taken on board.

“The current staff-to-dog ratio has always been far too high for staff to adequately meet the needs of the number of dogs this regulation allows them to keep. Puppies need so much care, attention and socialisation; so a new ratio which includes puppies would be a big step forward.

“Recommendations around improved training for local authorities are very welcome. We know Councils have so much on their plate already – and need proper resourcing to ensure they can enforce dog breeding laws; particularly in parts of West Wales, which are UK hot spots in terms of the prevalence of dog breeding activity.

“Any enhancement of dog breeding law must be done in conjunction with improvements to, or the introduction of, complementary legislation – including improvements on dog traceability, compulsory microchipping compliance, a ban on third-party sales of puppies, and consideration of a new cat breeding law too. Only then can we have a system that is truly fit for purpose and best protects animals from bad breeding practices.

“The Welsh Government have shown a really strong response to this report – and we look forward to working with them to ensure local authorities are best equipped to tackle illegal and poor dog breeding, that the public understand the consequences on welfare of such practices; and that regulations are enhanced to ensure Wales loses its sad label as a bastion for the murky world of illegal, or damaging, puppy breeding practices.”