Schedule 3 - Minor and consequential amendments

Part of Animal Welfare Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 1:30 pm on 26 January 2006.

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Photo of Bill Wiggin Bill Wiggin Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) 1:30, 26 January 2006

Amendment No. 189 would ensure that puppies of less than eight weeks old could not be sold to pet shops. To promote the welfare of dogs effectively, as the Bill is designed to do, we need to amend the Breeding and Sale of Dogs (Welfare) Act 1999 to guarantee that puppies aged less than eight weeks are supported in breeding establishments where their welfare needs can be better administered than in a pet shop. In their first eight weeks puppies need extra support. They need to be kept warm, they can sleep for 90 per cent. of the time and their movements are weak. It is not until the age of about eight weeks that they begin to exhibit the full range of characteristics of an adult of their breed. At that age, a puppy can begin to be house trained and groomed and can understand feeding regimes. It is only at about that time that it is appropriate for a puppy to be separated from the specialist care that it needs. The amendment would reinforce that point in law.

The subject of puppy farms was missed in the Bill, which is a great shame. Although a lot of work is being done to stop the mass production of puppies, we could have tackled the issue effectively in the Bill. We have missed that chance, but I hope that the amendment will go some way towards stopping pet shops selling puppies of less than eight weeks.