ISPCA issues statement on new legislation and Code of Practice for sellers or suppliers of pet animals

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ISPCA issues statement on new legislation and Code of Practice for sellers or suppliers of pet animals

The ISPCA has issued a statement on new legislation and Code of Practice for sellers or suppliers of pet animals

The ISPCA has issued a statement welcoming the new regulation on the sale and supply of pet animals, the Animal Health and Welfare (Sale or Supply of Pet Animals) Regulations 2019 (S.I. No. 681 of 2019), which comes into force on February 1, 2020.

The ISPCA believes that this is a significant step forward for pet animal welfare in Ireland and thanks the Minister and his officials for recognising the need for this long overdue legislation. We also thank the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) for their engagement with the ISPCA on the matter. The ISPCA submitted a detailed response to DAFM’s 2018 consultation on these issues, which can be downloaded here.

The legislation requires any person who sells or supplies more than five pet animals in a calendar year to register with DAFM. It also requires sellers or suppliers of pet animals (including Dog Breeding Establishments registered with local authorities) to include their registration number on any advertisement (including online advertisements), the age of the animal, the country of origin of the animal and, in the case of dogs, to provide the unique microchip number. The ISPCA believes that this legislation will significantly improve the welfare of pet animals being offered for sale or supply by providing full traceability and accountability.

The ISPCA also gives a cautious welcome to the voluntary Code of Practice (Code of Practice) for Sellers or Suppliers of Pet Animals which has also been published by DAFM. Whilst the ISPCA would prefer legislation to a voluntary Code of Practice, the CoP reminds those involved in the sale or supply of pet animals of their responsibility under the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013 to safeguard the health and welfare of any animal under their control.

The CoP provides detailed conditions under which pet animals being offered for sale or supply should be kept in and also provides details of legislation that all those involved in the sale or supply of pet animals should be aware of. We also note that the CoP does not prescribe which species or types of pets can be bred, kept, sold or supplied.

The CoP includes conditions under which dogs, cats and rabbits (amongst other species) being offered for sale or supply should be kept. The ISPCA does not believe that pet shops are appropriate places to display and sell puppies, kittens or baby rabbits as they may be left for long periods of time when the shop is closed.

The ISPCA would also like to see further regulation on the breeding, keeping, selling or supplying of ‘exotic’ species as pets. Some species such as monkeys have very complex social needs and should not be kept as pets under any circumstances. Other species may pose a risk to the public (e.g. venomous snakes) or to the environment if they escape or are deliberately released to the wild (e.g. terrapins and raccoon dogs). The ISPCA has had to deal with many and varied exotic pets over the years and believes that more regulation is required.

The ISPCA calls on those involved in the sale or supply of pet animals to ensure that they are aware of the new legislation and the CoP and fully comply with it to ensure the welfare of the animals they are responsible for. We also call on DAFM to ensure that sufficient resources are made available to monitor and enforce the new legislation, and if compliance with the CoP is poor that they consider further regulation.

Read also: Eight dogs rescued from 'squalor' by ISPCA in need of a home