The government has today launched a call for evidence which seeks views on the banning of third party sales of puppies, which would mean anyone wanting to buy or adopt a dog would have to deal directly with a breeder or one of the country's rehoming centres.

Interested parties are invited to share their views by the 2nd May 2018. 

The ban is being explored by the government as part of a package of reforms designed to drive up animal welfare standards.

A number of other measures to tighten up the regulation of puppy breeders are also being laid before Parliament today, to come into force later in the year:

  • Banning licensed sellers from dealing in puppies and kittens under the age of eight weeks;

  • Ensuring that licensed dog breeders show puppies alongside their mother before a sale is made;

  • Tackling the sale of weak underage puppies and the breeding of unhealthy dogs and dogs with severe genetic disorders;

  • Introducing compulsory licensing for anyone in the business of breeding and selling dogs;

  • Requiring puppy sales to be completed in the presence of the new owner, preventing online sales where prospective buyers have not seen the animal first;

  • Insisting licensed dog breeders can only sell puppies

Environment Secretary Michael Gove said: "We need to do everything we can to make sure the nation’s much loved pets get the right start in life. From banning the sale of underage puppies to tackling the breeding of dogs with severe genetic disorders, we are cracking down on sellers who have a total disregard for their dogs’ welfare.

"This is a further step to raise the bar on animal welfare standards. We are also introducing mandatory CCTV in all slaughterhouses and increasing maximum prison sentences tenfold for animal abusers."

BVA President John Fishwick said: "As vets, we see first-hand the tragic consequences that can result from poorly bred puppies so it’s encouraging to see the Government announce this raft of measures to improve dog welfare.

"We support the principle that puppies should not be sold by third parties, but this is a complex area that must consider advertising, internet sales and pet owners’ buying habits to ensure illegal puppy sales won’t be driven underground.

"Effective legislation must be backed by enforcement, so it’s essential that local authorities are equipped with adequate resources to help guarantee the welfare of millions of dogs across the UK.

The consultation can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/banning-third-party-sales-of-pets-in-england-call-for-evidence