Melton Council is the first local authority in the country to work with the Kennel Club on a project tackling rogue dog breeders.
The pioneering information-sharing project could transform how dog breeding regulations are enforced.
Following the publication of Defra’s consultation on animal establishment licences, the Kennel Club - the UK’s largest dog welfare organisation - has welcomed the proposals to reduce the threshold at which point breeders require a licence from five litters per year to three.
The proposals would also exempt breeders affiliated with a UKAS accredited scheme from the local authority licensing regime. At present, the only such scheme is the Kennel Club Assured Breeder Scheme (ABS).
The Kennel Club says that exempting ABS members, who already face rigorous inspections by the Kennel Club, from local authority licensing requirements would avoid duplicating inspections of breeders who are breeding to the high standards of the ABS.
And it would allow local authorities to channel resources to where they are most needed – those breeders who are higher risk or those who are currently unlicensed but to whom the new law would apply.
A Kennel Club spokesman said: “According to statistics local authorities will be under-resourced to enforce updated breeding regulations without exempting Assured Breeders from their regime – especially if the litter threshold reduces to three.”
Kennel Club secretary Caroline Kisk added: “This information sharing initiative will highlight how local authorities will be impacted if licensing thresholds for breeders reduce to three litters per year, whether there’s an exemption for Kennel Club Assured Breeders in place or not. We hope other local authorities follow Melton’s example so they can find ways to manage their already stretched resources in the future to tackle rogue breeders and avoid duplicating inspections of good breeders.”
Victoria Clarke, environmental protection and safety manager at Melton Council said: “We’ve long supported the principles behind the Assured Breeder Scheme and when regulations on breeding are updated we hope to be able to continue our dialogue with the Kennel Club to ensure we know which breeders in Melton are ‘Assured’ and which are not. This will help us divert our resources to where they are most needed.”
For more on the Kennel Club Assured Breeder Scheme visit www.thekennelclub.org.uk/assuredbreederscheme