Wales Publishes Responses to Proposed Dog & Cat 3rd Party Sales Ban

Welsh GovernmentYesterday the government of Wales published the long-awaited document reviewing submissions of comments (“consultations”) by the public. Remarks were submitted by 458 agencies, organizations and individuals in the open period from 19 February – 17 May 2019.

The results are quite as expected. Near unanimous support with a few eye-rollers: the typical fatuous argument that a ban won’t completely end the industry so why bother to do anything at all.

Blue Cross, an animal rescue and rehoming agency active in Wales, Scotland and England since 1897, had this to say:

We don’t agree that just introducing a ban on thirdparty sellers will have any impact on those sellers that make large profits and choose to operate outside the licensing regime. We believe that before introducing a potentially knee jerk piece of legislation, the government must assess the scale of the third party trade in puppies and the impact any such ban would have on licensed large scale breeders.

Blue Cross submission to the Gov’t of Wales Call for Consultation on ending third party sales of dogs and cats.
Emphasis ours.

They go on about stricter regulations being the best course. We in the ‘States know this strategy simply does not work as most governments are unwilling to put additional staffing and revenue/expense burdens on those budgets already stretched, which the route of strong restrictions causes en masse.

Flag of Wales

New York City is a showcase for this. NYC’s strong restrictions of dog and cat retail sales have proven near-completely unenforceable and sales go on largely unchecked, while their outright ban of rabbit sales has put a stopper on the rabbit overpopulation problem by directly ending impulse purchases in pet stores.

The English ban is set for enforcement on 1 April 2020. The law was deemed Lucy’s Law after news about a spaniel in a typical puppy mill horror situation achieved viral status in the UK. Lucy was imprisoned in a puppy mill in Wales.

Lucy tugged at the Brit’s heartstrings when photos of her fused hips and curved spine from years of living an empty life of nothing but breeding went viral on social and news media. This image is from a Sky News May 19, 2019, article: ‘Lucy’s Law’ puppy farm ban set to be confirmed.

Welsh activists have called on their government to “beat the English to it.” With Lucy’s Law laid in the spring of this year the Welsh government would have to move swiftly, mandating enforcement in less than 8 months, to win the race of taking this critical step in ending animal cruelty in the British Isles.

Either way, England and Wales are now the de facto model to the world of how a countrywide ban can be enacted through the determination of activists to bring about change.

End the suffering.

1st Comprehensive Pet Sales Ban Since Albuquerque

Lisle, Illinois, smack-dab in the center of a contentious area where dog, cat and often rabbit bans are passed and sometimes passed over; where the state legislature missed the mark on a statewide ban back at Thanksgiving, 2015, when they were on track for the first statewide ban on the sales of dogs, cats and rabbits in the world, has set a new milestone.

The little village of Lisle has passed the first comprehensive ban on the sale of all animals in retail stores, by our count, for the first time since the sweeping ordinance in Albuquerque, New Mexico in trying to curb a rampant feral animal population 13 years ago, way back in June 2006.

A few ordinances have included pot-bellied pigs: 2 in Nevada and 1 in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Ferret sales were included in bans in 3 bans in Michigan (2 also included long-lived birds and large reptiles) and 2 in Florida.

Activists in states with notably large ban quotients, notably New Jersey and Florida, have stuck to dogs and cats only. Out of Florida’s 64 bans as of this writing, only 5 include rabbits or 4/5 of 1%.

New Jersey has no rabbit bans by our count even though neighboring New York City has a full ban on rabbit sales while only meager, unenforceable strong restrictions on dog and cats sales.

Some in the animal rights and protections movement have long called this selectivity as speciesist: favoring one species over another. The problem of animal farming is the same for dogs, cats, rabbits, ferrets, pot-bellied pigs, long-lived birds, large reptiles, not to mention the serious trafficking in endangered species and species groups of insects and arachnids.

Some argue that just getting dogs and cats passed can be a difficult enough fight. But the argument is strong for ferrets as they are even more at risk as many who take them on don’t have a clue what they bargained for. As in puppies and kittens, ferrets are often the impulse purchase in a pet store, many of them the larger national chains. If not taken well care of, ferrets can produce a copious amount of urine the smell of which is not easily reduced let alone eradicated. They have prodigious energy and need a lot of exercise and if they don’t get it they get sick. There are massive ferret rescues, usually in rural areas, that can’t keep up with the need of talking on castaway animals.

Ferrets should always be included in bans.

The rabbit story is as bleak, as witnessed by New York’s ban. Rabbits grown in hutches for pet stores and not the same breeds in the wild. A family sees a bunny in the pet store near Easter. “Mommy, I have to have one!”

“No, sweetie, we can’t take care of it.”

“But half my schoolmates have one!”

“Maybe next year….”

“I WANT A RABBIT!”

“Can you please add this bunny to my tab.”

But rabbits need a lot of care and attention. They should have at least yearly checkups and should be taken in if they stop eating, are throwing up, are lethargic, you get the picture. Bunnies need a lot of exercise, but they are not built to spend days and nights outside like the cottontails that live in the bush. Some people in northern climates are astonished when the bunny they relegated outside perished before Halloween. Many in the south have no idea their bunnies aren’t built for the heat. If they do survive outside for very long, they’ll eat your vegetation, which leads to the choice of letting them off in the park or the edge of town or near the creek which will either kill them or have them propagating like, well, rabbits and altering the long-standing balance of Nature.

Altogether too often the family brings home a pregnant rabbit, or two rabbits that mate, and a bunny family is running the house before you know it.

Rabbits should always be on a ban list.

Large reptiles can outgrow their welcome in a few years and are often dumped in the sewer system, in swampy areas like the everglades or bayous, near rivers, creeks, streams and lakes where the non-indigenous animals can wreak havoc on the micro-eco-system or inundate entire regions. They should be on all ban lists.

Long-lived birds are often made up of endangered species and are often trafficked illegally with phony papers, similar to the lies about where puppies come from, “We would never buy our pups and kittens from a puppy-mill, never!

And there’s the long-lived part. Who knows how old the bird you have gotten is. They may live another 100 years. Who will care for them when you are no longer able to, another rescue?

Rats, mice, gerbils, chinchillas, it’s all the same.

Nightmares for the folks back at home, the animals brought home are often sick, behavior challenged, and need more care than anyone in the home has time for. They languish in lives that are not ideal, especially when it comes to the exercise and exploring nearly every animal needs to have optimum health, let alone an appropriate and varied diet.

We hope this first ban of all animals sold in retail pet shops takes off as much as the ban on dogs and cats has.

Activists in jurisdictions that have had success in dog and cat retail sales bans should consider re-visiting their City and County councils and amend the bans to include these species as undergoing the same conditions and travails (and possible extinction) pet mill dogs and cats do. All of these animals are just as individual as a dog or a cat. All of them feel pain, feel sickness, indeed sadness in a melancholy life in a cage or glass too small for them, eating a poor an unvaried diet, and aren’t able to explore, smell, climb, slither, poke, sniff, swim, jump, run as all animals are meant to do.

Dogs, cats, rabbits, ferrets, pot-bellied pigs, large reptiles, long-lived birds should always be included in bans, if not a blanket ban on the retail sale of animals for the very same reasons and definitions.

Rabbit Sales Bans on the Rise

According to our count, rabbit sales bans now stand at 40 jurisdictions, a 10% increase in rabbit sales bans in the past 3 months.

Recent jurisdictions where rabbit bans were included in ordinances:

  1. Downers Grove, Illinois, 3/2019
  2. Gig Harbor, Washington, 5/2019
  3. Bellevue, Pennsylvania, 6/2019
  4. Royal Oak, Michigan, 6/2019

We keep count of rabbit bans in our Icon Legend section under the Google Map:

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Royal Oak, Michigan, the most recent ordinance to include rabbit bans, also bans sales of ferrets. Previous Michigan bans included bans on reptiles sales and long-lived birds.

Of interest: New Jersey with over 100 ordinances banning puppy and kitten sales has only 1 jurisdiction we are aware of that bans rabbit sales.

New York does not ban puppy and kitten sales, opting for a nearly unenforceable strong restriction (which should lead them to a full ban in the near future), outlawed the retail sales of rabbits at Christmas 2014.

No New States, But 2 We Haven’t Heard From in a Long Time 🤩

Activists have reported ban passages in 2 states we haven’t heard from in quite awhile.

Michigan had its last ban passage 3½ years ago at Christmas in 2015. Royal Oak passed its ban in June 2019. In keeping with previous Michigan bans, animal sales bans include rabbits and ferrets, though long-lived birds and reptiles are not on the list as previous Michigan townships have included. These birds, living up to 125 years, quite often outlive their human companions.

A lonesome state for some time, Colorado had only passed one ban, in Fountain, way back in 2011. The good news is Fountain had a puppy store that was closed by the ban 8 years ago.

Berthoud, Colorado just passed its ban in June 2019.

England law “laid,” ban effective 4/2020

Puppy and kitten farming to be banned under ‘Lucy’s law’

The Guardian, 5/13/2019

A law banning puppy and kitten farming, which campaigners hope will end the practice by some unscrupulous breeders of keeping animals constantly pregnant and often in dirty and cramped conditions, is to be laid by the government.

More than 95% of responses to the government’s public consultation expressed support for a ban.

The Guardian

The change, expected to come into force in April 2020, will mean young cats and dogs can no longer be sold by a pet shop or commercial dealer unless they have bred them.

Would-be pet owners will need to deal directly with breeders or rehoming centres, though some campaigners have called for the law, to be laid on Monday, to go further and clamp down on the practices of animal sanctuaries.

….

The decision to ban commercial third-party sales was announced in December and follows years of campaigning. More than 95% of responses to the government’s public consultation expressed support for a ban.

The legislation will come into force on 6 April 2020, which the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said would give the pet industry and consumers time to prepare for the change.

The state of UK bans

England

In October 2018 Defra introduced the Animal Welfare (Activities Involving Animals) Regulations 2018. The Regulations introduced new licensing procedures for selling of pets, boarding for cats and dogs, hiring of horses, breeding of dogs and keeping or training animals for exhibition. In February 2018 a call for evidence was launched and this was followed by a four week consultation in August 2018 on plans to introduce a ban on the commercial third-party sales of puppies and kittens in England. The consultation also sought views on the licensing of rehoming and rescue centres to avoid current third party sellers claiming exemption to any possible ban.

On 23 December Defra [Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs] confirmed it will be banning the third party sales of puppies and kittens in England.

Northern Ireland

During 2018 DAERA reviewed the matter of animal establishments in Northern Ireland, including establishments that sell pets. In 2019, DAERA intends to engage with stakeholders to obtain their views on the future licensing system in Northern Ireland.

Scotland

In September 2018 the Scottish Government launched a consultation to seek views on proposals to introduce new regulations for the licensing of dog, cat and rabbit breeding activities in Scotland.

The consultation considered how thresholds for licensing may be determined depending on the size of the undertaking and how this may work for organisations with multiple premises.

Wales

See post Wales Comments Closed

Wales comments closed

Flag of Wales, United Kingdom.

The Welsh Government Consultation Document, Third Party Sales of Puppies and Kittens, issued 19 February 2019, has now been closed for responses as of 17 May 2019.

We are seeking your views on a proposed ban on commercial third-party sales of puppies and kittens in Wales.

Animal Welfare & Framework Branch, Welsh Government, Cathays Park, Cardiff, CF10 3NQ

Consultation description

Commercial third-party sales may be associated with poorer welfare conditions for the animals compared to buying directly from the breeder.

For example, the introduction to several unfamiliar environments and likelihood of multiple journeys may contribute to an increased risk of disease and a lack of socialisation and habituation.

We are consulting on whether a change of policy and/or the law would improve the welfare of puppies and kittens when being sold.

OVERVIEW

There are concerns that commercial third-party sales of puppies and kittens may be associated with poorer welfare conditions for the animals compared to when people buy directly from the breeder. For example, the introduction to several new and unfamiliar environments and the increased likelihood of multiple journeys the puppies or kittens have to undertake. All of these have the potential to contribute to an increased risk of disease and a lack of socialisation and habituation for the puppies and kittens.

The Welsh Government wishes to consider whether or not a change of policy and/or the law in Wales would better protect the welfare of puppies and kittens when being sold.

WHAT ARE THE MAIN ISSUES?

High standards of animal welfare are a priority of the Welsh Government. The Wales Animal Health and Welfare Framework1 sets out our plan for continuing and lasting improvements in standards of animal health and welfare for kept animals.

Currently, puppies and kittens can either be purchased directly from a breeder (licensed or unlicensed depending on the number of breeding bitches at the premises), via a third-party seller, or from a rescue/rehoming centre. There are no national records of the number of puppies and kittens sold via third-parties.

Commercial third-party sellers are those who are licensed pet sellers; In Wales they will hold a licence under the Pet Animals Act 1951.

There are concerns commercial third-party sales of puppies and kittens may be associated with poorer welfare conditions for the animals compared with direct purchase from the breeder. For example, the introduction to several new and unfamiliar environments, and the increased likelihood of multiple journeys the puppies or kittens have to undertake have the potential to contribute to an increased risk of disease and a lack of socialisation and habituation for the puppies or kittens.

On 19 June 2018 the Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths, delivered an Oral Statement announcing her commitment to explore options of banning commercial third party sales of puppies and kittens in Wales. On 5 November 2018 the Cabinet Secretary announced a consultation would be launched to gather information on the supply chain and establish where government intervention would have the greatest impact.

WHERE ARE WE NOW?

The introduction of the Animal Welfare (Breeding of Dogs)(Wales) Regulations 2014 led the way in the UK in addressing welfare concerns at licensed dog breeding establishments. The Regulations provide for licensing of breeding premises with three or more breeding bitches. However, we do not wish to stand still and will be looking to review our Regulations to ensure they meet the high standards we are expecting. In particular there are still concerns about the welfare standards at some licensed breeding premises and also in the enforcement of the Regulations. The findings from this consultation will help shape future changes but we cannot pre- empt what those changes will be at this point.

There is currently no requirement for people breeding cats to be licensed.

There are 219 licensed dog breeders in Wales.

There are less than 20 licensed pet shops selling puppies and kittens in Wales.

Originating Consultation document, 2/2019 https://gov.wales/sites/default/files/consultations/2019-02/third-party-sales-consultation-document.pdf

UK: down to 1

Originally we put down all four UK countries: England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland as 4 countrywide bans. But we’ve learned that referendums need to occur in each country.

England has committed to passing legislation to end sales of dogs and cats in pet stores.

The government has confirmed it will be banning third party sales of puppies and kittens, Animal Welfare Minister David Rutley announced today (23 December 2018).

The decision was taken following a public consultation, from which there was over 95 per cent support for a ban. It will help bring to an end the terrible welfare conditions found in puppy farming and solve a range of existing animal welfare issues.

Wales, too, is close to committing, with a cut-off for public comment on the matter on 17 May 19. Under our Wales details we have a counter displayed if the date as not yet passed.

The Welsh, Scottish and Northern Ireland flags are greyed out until further legislative action. Check the UK section and click the flags for updates. Use the sticky top menu under Details > UK to find it fast. You can also click on any UK country on our Big Map. Or take this direct link.