New regulations planned to reform domestic animal breeding licences

A new licensing scheme for the breeding of dogs, cats and rabbits will be put forward after securing public backing.

The Scottish Government received 675 responses to a consultation on reforming the current system and 96.8% of respondents wanted regulation.

Under existing legislation, potentially around 40 or more puppies can be produced in a year without any legal obligations or inspections for the breeder, while cat and rabbit breeders do not require a licence.

Proposals to revamp the system follows concerns over animal welfare, particularly in relation to puppies sold by unlicensed dog breeders.

More than half (57.2%) of those responding opposed the Government’s proposals to limit litters to three a year, with 71.3% backing plans to limit lifetime litters to six.

The vast majority (95.2%) want those with criminal convictions to be banned from being given a licence and also want a national list of licensed premises (94.5%).

Around four out of five respondents (79.7%) backed plans for licences lasting from one to three years based on a risk assessment while 20.3% were against this.

Rural Affairs and Natural Environment Minister Mairi Gougeon said: “We love our pets in Scotland, so it is no surprise that so many people are in favour of our proposals to further protect the welfare of cats, dogs and rabbits.

“The aim is to modernise the whole licensing process – making it less onerous on those organisations already doing the right thing and, most importantly, ensuring that the system is centred around the welfare of animals.

“The Scottish Government will now work with local authorities, welfare organisations and individuals to bring these regulations forward.”

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