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Key clarifications needed on Animal Welfare (Breeding of Dogs) Wales legislation to avoid potential legalised neglect – William Powell AM

2013 Mehefin 19 10:50 AM

William Powell AM, Welsh Liberal Democrat Rural Affairs spokesperson, has today called on the First Minister and the Welsh Government to clarify a key contradiction in the new Animal Welfare (Breeding of Dogs) Wales 2013 Bill, which could result in a single member of staff alone being responsible for the care of several hundred dogs.

William Powell AM, Welsh Liberal Democrat for Mid and West Wales, said:

"As things stand the regulations published last week stated that a ratio of one full time member of staff to 20 dogs would be put in place across Wales' breeding establishments. However, the Ministerial Statement which accompanied the regulations stated that puppies would not be included amongst those 20.

"This is deeply concerning given the fact that if puppies are excluded, it would mean that anyone legally caring for 20 dogs would also be responsible for all of their puppies without the legal requirement for assistance.

"Given that each of these 20 dogs could be capable of having a litter of around a dozen puppies; it clearly creates a situation where hundreds of dogs could be placed in the care of one person legally.

"This is clearly unacceptable, and could result in a situation where, what I would consider a neglectful level of supervision is made legal. For this reason alone it is essential that the Welsh Government clarify this before the regulations come before the Assembly in the coming weeks."

A spokesperson for RSPCA Cymru said:

"RSPCA Cymru is supportive of regulations which would introduce a minimum requirement of 1 staff to 20 dogs in breeding establishments.

"However, we are deeply concerned by a discrepancy contained within Welsh Government supporting statements which suggests this figure excludes any puppies born to those dogs.

"This could mean one attendant having to care for hundreds of dogs at once, meaning they would not have the time or resources to ensure they can express normal behaviour or be handled or socialised appropriately.

"RSPCA Cymru has long acted as a lead campaigner on this important issue - and will continue to strive to ensure regulations adequately meet the welfare needs of these animals."

ENDS