Dogs Trust

Third party sales and banning the sale of puppies in pet shops in England

Tackling the puppy trade

Response to DEFRA announcement on Third Party Sales:

Paula Boyden, Veterinary Director says:

“We’re pleased at the news that a ban on Third Party Sales is to be introduced in England. The welfare of our nation’s dogs is our highest priority and we will be glad to see an end to Third Party Sales of puppies and kittens. We would like to see additional measures introduced to ensure the ban is as robust as possible; there is time before April 2020 for the Government to consider regulation of rehoming organisations and sanctuaries, ensure full traceability of all puppies sold, and strengthening of the pet travel scheme.

“We urge the Government to ensure the additional pieces of the puzzle in tackling the puppy trade are put in place as soon as possible to make the ban a success.”

In detail, these are the additional measures we would like the government to address for the ban to be a success:

  • Regulation of rehoming organisations and sanctuaries: At the moment these are totally unregulated and so devious breeders could easily set themselves up as one
  • Urgent changes to the pet travel scheme: We need tougher controls on pet travel to stem the flow of illegally imported puppies into Great Britain
  • Harsher penalties for unscrupulous breeders and dealers: For illegal traders who wouldn’t be deterred by a ban on third party sales.
  • Registration and licensing for all puppy breeders and sellers: With stronger registration and licensing requirements, unscrupulous breeders simply could not continue
  • More support for local authority inspectors: Better training and support for local authority inspectors would ensure the legislation can be properly enforced

Previous statements

22nd August 2018

Rt Hon Michael Gove MP visits Dogs Trust to announce big news for animal welfare

We were delighted to welcome Rt Hon Michael Gove MP Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to Dogs Trust West London to announce a consultation on a ban on third party puppy sales in England.  

Mr Gove was given a behind the scenes tour of our West London rehoming centre by rehoming centre manager Richard Moore, and Veterinary Director Paula Boyden before meeting one of our canine residents, Gorilla.

On behalf of Dogs Trust, Paula Boyden has welcomed the news:

"We’re delighted that the government has announced this consultation as it brings us one step closer to a ban becoming a reality and reducing the chance of puppies suffering at the hands of unscrupulous breeders and traders.

"We believe that to be effective, a ban needs to be supported by some key additional measures, such as regulating rehoming organisations. These measures will close off potential loopholes and ensure a ban is the success we all want to see. There is still time to introduce them for when a ban comes into operation."

7th February 2018

We want to see an end to third party sales and the sale of puppies in pet shops as part of a package of coordinated measures. There are some crucial steps that the government must take to make a ban, and Lucy’s Law, effective and avoid unintended consequences. As a priority, the governments across the UK need to regulate rehoming organisations and sanctuaries – under current rules anyone can set themselves up as one, providing an easy opportunity for devious puppy dealers to exploit this loophole. The Scottish Government is underway with plans to do just this which we are delighted to see.

In addition, whilst the Westminster Government is bringing forward a stronger system of licensing and inspection of dog breeders and sellers, this does not include the whole of the UK, or provide the full traceability we had hoped for as only those producing three or more litters will require a license – we believe this should be set at one litter. If these vital measures are not introduced we have real concerns as to how a ban could be successfully introduced and provide essential traceability and transparency of everyone involved in the trade.

Read our full statement, here.