The RSPCA have today reported findings that are very concerning.

The animal welfare charity asked all 22 local authorities in Wales – as part of a Freedom of Information Act (FOI) – how they are currently tackling illegal puppy breeding in their counties. The responses revealed that local authorities received almost 1,000 enquiries from members of the public in 2020-21, which is an increase of 6.75% in 2021.

The highest number of enquiries came from Carmarthenshire for two years running (221 in 2020 and 149 in 2021). Powys and Ceredigion followed. The number of prosecutions undertaken by local authorities also doubled in 2021 – eight compared to four in 2020.

Hope Rescue are pleased to have been able to support RSPCA Cymru with bringing this important news story to fruition. In the last 12 months, we have taken in 219 dogs seized by local authorities from illegal breeders, a huge spike which supports the RSPCA’s data.

As we explained on BBC Radio Wales this morning (27.06.2022), this is due to a combination of low welfare breeders exploiting the demand for pandemic puppies, increased public awareness of poor breeding practices and a willingness to report, together with increased Welsh Government resources through the Local Authority Enforcement Project.

Whilst the increased number of investigations and prosecutions is encouraging, we also agree with the RSPCA that our current breeding laws need strengthening.

In particular, we would like to see:

  • Improved traceability and licensing of all breeders, not just those breeding 3 or more litters
  • A cap on the maximum number of breeding bitches, pups and stud dogs that can be housed at any one site
  • Far lower staff:dog ratios which also include pups and stud dogs within the headcount
  • Vet certified annual fitness to breed certificates for all bitches and stud dogs

In addition, we would also like to see Wales follow Scotland’s example and introduce legislation to reduce the amount of time between seizure and sign over to just 3 weeks, rather than dogs and puppies having to wait for months before they can be rehomed whilst they await a court decision.

We'd always try to encourage people to approach their local rescue centre when looking to take on a new dog but for those families that do want to buy a puppy, we'd recommend they use the free toolkit below and find a responsible breeder who prioritises the health and welfare of the dogs they breed.

The Puppy Contract