The Breeding of Dogs Act 1973 as amended by the Breeding and sale of dogs (Welfare) Act 1999 controls dog breeding by licence and allows the Local Authority to issue an annual licence.
To determine whether a licence is needed, it is necessary to identify that a person is carrying on a dog breeding business.
A breeding licence will be required for anyone breeding five or more litters a year for sale.
Before a breeding licence will be granted, the premises must be inspected by a veterinary surgeon and a local authority officer.
- Any person found to be breeding more than 4 litters a year without a licence may be prosecuted.
- It will be an offence for a bitch to be mated if she is less than one year old.
- Breeding will be restricted to a maximum limit of 6 litters per bitch, with at least 12 months between each litter.
- Accurate breeding records must be kept and puppies must wear a visible means of identity.
- Puppies cannot be sold by licensed breeder to their final home until they are at least 8 weeks old.
"Hobby Breeders", who produce four or less litters in one year are not affected.
In order to apply for a licence you should complete an application form and return it together with the application fee which is £300 for a new application and £260 for a renewal application. Once we have received your application form and fee, new premises will be inspected to check compliance with the council's licence conditions for either domestic or non-domestic breeders.
Existing premises may also be subject to periodic inspections throughout the year
A licence will run for 12 months from its start date, being the date requested by the applicant or the date of issue whichever is later.
Vets and Local Government Officers carry out inspections and monitor local establishments. Where a breach of the legislation occurs, police and local authorities investigate further and can prosecute if necessary.
What to do if you suspect a breeding establishment is not complying with the Breeding and Sale of Dogs (Welfare) Act 1999 and may be a puppy farm:
If you suspect that there is a puppy farm in your area, or that a new puppy has come from a puppy farm, you could contact the Licensing team.