Return to LAWS Local Authority Animal Welfare Charter

Dog and Cat Breeding and Protection

1) The Council is responsible for the licensing and enforcement of licence conditions in respect of a range of activities involving animals, including: Dog Breeding, Pet Shops, Animal Boarding, Riding Establishments, and Zoos. The Council also has a role in enforcement of a range of other statutory powers in relation to dogs (including dangerous dogs), stray dogs and dog fouling.

2) Through the Local Police Authority, the Council will:

a) As soon as possible, ensure that Animal Welfare Liaison Officers are appointed who will have special training and knowledge of Animal Welfare legislation. These Officers would liaise with all relevant bodies to help ensure the efficient enforcement of Animal Welfare legislation and to prevent cruelty to animals.

b) Working with relevant responsible animal welfare organisations, ensure that an inspection procedure, using trained lay visitors is put in place for police dogs and horses to ensure their welfare is maintained at the highest level.

3) In order to fulfill its statutory responsibilities under this legislation the Council will:

a) Employ a core of trained and experienced personnel and where necessary and appropriate call upon the expertise of others to assist in the process.

b) Produce, apply and regularly review conditions attached to licences issued by the Council to provide adequate protection for animals and promote their welfare.

c) Prepare and distribute to all involved, material explaining the provisions of the law and licence conditions so as to promote a better understanding of the law and greater compliance with the various statutes.

d) Inspect premises and carry out such enquiries as required prior to their licence application being determined to ensure that they will comply with the licence conditions.

e) Patrol the Borough/District/County to deal with stray dogs, dangerous dogs and irresponsible dog ownership.

f) Liaise closely with other enforcing agencies to ensure a co-ordinated approach to animal welfare.

4) The Council recognises that it may also be required to enforce statutory powers relating to pest control. In such circumstances, the Council will seek to employ non-lethal control measures whenever possible and only kill pest species when there are no other methods available and where they present a serious threat to the health or well-being of the local community.

5) The Council’s Dog Warden service will continue to develop its advisory and social welfare role. This will include promotional campaigns on good pet ownership, talks to voluntary groups and schools and the provision of display and information stands at suitable venues.

6) The Council’s Animal Welfare Officers will produce a series of leaflets clearly setting down legislative controls and including any current advice for distribution to all licensed pet shops, dog breeders, cat and dog boarders, riding establishments and keepers of dangerous wild animals.

7) The Council will assist Defra ensuring that the proprietors of commercial enterprises involving animals are provided with advisory leaflets etc.

8) The Council will support the local farm animal welfare liaison group’s training programme for commercial enterprises and will seek to provide advice to abattoirs, slaughterhouses and other establishments where animals are killed for food on the premises.

9) Council emergency plans, including those drawn up for mass evacuations, will include provisions for companion and other animals.

10) This Council is concerned by the levels of distress caused to animals by fireworks and supports a noise limit of 97 decibels for them. The Council will seek to limit public displays of fireworks to areas which cause least harm and distress to animals.
1) The Council is a large purchaser of products and services and where relevant will take into account animal welfare issues when specifying products or services e.g. wherever possible only cleaning products and cosmetics that have not been tested on animals will be purchased. An ethical code will be drawn up relating to Council purchasing.

2) The Council will not allow on any Council owned or managed land, rodeos, circuses or travelling menageries which include performing animals, and will use its statutory powers to prevent performing animals acts in theatres wherever possible.

3) The Council will seek to ensure that at least one vegetarian meal, to the specification of the Vegetarian Society of Great Britain, and one vegan meal, to the specification of the Vegan Society will appear on all menus in Council run facilities or establishments where the Council has influence – including and especially schools and other educational facilities. Wherever possible meat products will be sourced from welfare friendly suppliers.

4) The Council realises that the use of real fur on robes and other garments relating to Council office may cause offence to many local people who see real fur as cruel and unnecessary. The Council will therefore not use real fur on any such garments and replace any existing real fur as soon as possible.

5) This Council recognises that climate change is happening and will have serious consequences for animals as well as people. The Council will do all it can to help meet local, national and international targets to reduce the production of greenhouse gases and to conserve energy.

6) The Council will not allow the giving of live animals as prizes at fun fairs on Council owned or managed land.

7) The Council is opposed to large scale pheasant shooting seeing it as wasteful and cruel.

8) The Council is opposed to the unnecessary use of agrochemicals and pesticides and in the furtherance of this policy the Council will:

a) Ensure that the horticultural staff work closely with animal welfare groups to use methods of weed control etc. which are not harmful to wildlife, and wherever possible, weeds are controlled by the use of alternative methods and not chemicals. If chemicals must be used, they should be of a type which would have minimum effect on the environment and must be on the “approved list” published by the Defra under control of Pesticide Regulations 1986.

b) Ensure that where practicable, and desirable, hedgerows and roadside banks under Council control will be managed to conserve, enhance and create safe habitats for birds and animals during the breeding season, and encourage the growth of wild flowers.

9) The Council is opposed to the use of snares and other traps which cause suffering to animals. It approves of live traps only when certain conditions are adhered to and new/renewed licences on Council owned/managed land will include a clause reflecting this, particularly the need for them to be under the control of a skilled person adhering strictly to legislative controls.

10) The Council will encourage those who fish in Council controlled waters or from Council controlled land to adopt the following code of practice based on the Medway Report:

a) The use of double and treble hooks should be avoided.

b) Fish that swallowed the hook and those intended for food should be killed humanely before any attempt is made to unhook them.

c) To assist in removing hooks all anglers should possess suitable “disgorgers” appropriate to the size, and species of the fish they are likely to catch.

d) Promote the use of barbless hooks which cause less injury to the fish and, being easier to remove, reduce the amount of handling required.

e) If keep nets are used, fish should be confined for the shortest possible time, to reduce the risk of injury.

f) Great care should be taken when handling fish to minimise damage to the thin protective layer of skin and mucus covering the scales. Damage to this layer will increase the chance infection and reduce the ability of the fish to survive.

g) Prolonged “playing” of fish, especially those destined to be returned to the water, and the use of ultra-fine tackle which necessitates such “playing”, should be avoided.

h) Fish which are killed following capture should be dispatched as quickly and humanely as possible. Anglers should know how to kill a fish humanely.

i) In view of the dangers posed to wildlife and other animals by discarded fishing tackle, anglers should not use lead weights ensure the safe disposal of unwanted or tangled fishing tackle.

11) Angling clubs fishing in Council controlled waters or from Council controlled land will be encouraged to arrange for younger members to receive guidance from qualified instructors concerning the biology of fish and their relationships with other animals in order to help reduce the incidence of inconsiderate behaviour towards them.

12) The Council, as an Education Authority, will:

a) Encourage the management of school grounds as ecological reserves.

b) Encourage the use of videos and computer simulations for teaching anatomy and physiology in schools as opposed to more traditional methods.

c) Explain to the school children the law in relation to protected and non-protected species in accordance with Section 25 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, the Wild Mammals (Protection) Act 1996, the Protection of Animals Act 1911 and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.

d) Encourage the study of animals, their welfare, conservation and the responsible ownership of pets. Each school will be encouraged to have an “Animal Welfare Policy” of its own. Animal welfare groups should be asked to provide speakers and educational material.
The Council will exercise its legal enforcement and other powers in relation to the following:

1) The Council recognises that many domestic animals can suffer neglect and cruelty and that it is right that measures be taken to protect them in such circumstances.

2) The Council considers that a pet should only be purchased once the prospective purchaser has the necessary equipment, facilities, time and financial means or the level of interest and expertise necessary for the proper keeping of the animal and understands the responsibilities entailed by ownership of the pet. It is clear that some homes are unsuitable for the keeping of certain pets. Some personal circumstances could mean that adequate provision for pets is difficult if not impossible.

3) The Council will encourage owners to ensure that their pets have sufficient space to avoid distress or suffering. Particular attention will be drawn to the inadequate standards for cages, which appear to be commonly accepted for many birds and small mammals e.g. canaries and budgerigars, rabbits and guinea pigs, etc.

4) In encouraging responsible pet ownership the Council believes leaving animals unattended at home during the day should be discouraged. Long periods in motor vehicles, especially in hot weather, should not occur.

5) The Council will adopt a plan for helping older people who are pet owners and, working with local animal shelters and re-homing charities, a strategy for dealing with companion animals if their owners pass away.

6) The Council will particularly encourage and support the re-homing of rescued animals from recognised societies and establishments. The Council will support responsible pet ownership activities and re-homing schemes of local animal welfare charities by publicising their work in Council venues and Council publications and ensure reception staff have up-to-date details about re-homing and subsidised veterinary services for any residents who need help advice or wish to re-home or obtain a pet.

7) The display of puppies, kittens and exotic animals in pet shops can lead to impulse buying without proper thought for the future well-being of the pet.

8) The Council considers that the sale of any animal to a person under the age of sixteen years should be made illegal.

9) The Council will devise specific licences for each individual shop listing the specific species that may be sold and the numbers held in stock. Any pet shop would then only be licensed to sell those species whose welfare could be assured in the shop. This would ensure the shop staff have the necessary knowledge and facilities to be able to provide animals with the appropriate specialist captive environment and care.

10) The Council will impose at least one annual veterinary inspection, by a suitably qualified and experienced person, for each shop. This should be in addition to spot-checks by an environmental health officer or animal welfare officer. Where pet shops are selling exotic species, the person carrying out the inspection should be experienced in the care of exotic species.

11) On application forms for new pet shop licences, applicants should be asked to provide details of any existing prosecutions for cruelty or neglect of animals. They should also state whether they have had a pet shop licence refused on a previous occasion.

12) The Council will encourage pet shops to provide suitable care and welfare information to prospective owners about the animal they are purchasing.

13) The Council will urge pet shops to employ suitably-qualified staff (to NVQ or BTEC levels), provide suitable training for all staff in animal welfare issues and only employ staff who can demonstrate acceptable levels of animal husbandry experience.

14) The Council supports the humane training of animals by the Police, other public protection agencies and for those who help the disabled.

15) The Council does not approve of the breeding of animals for producing changes in bodily form, and/or function, which are detrimental to their health or quality of life.

16) This Council is opposed to pet fairs. The Council will refuse to issue licences for one-off sales of animals including exotic animals or for so-called exotics fairs and ensure that, where possible, any such events do not take place.

17) Working with other relevant agencies and animal welfare organizations, the Council will provide secure facilities for pets owned by people or families requiring temporary accommodation in safe housing. Women, in particular, are all too frequently the victims of domestic violence. Sometimes the victims will not seek refuge for fear of leaving the family pet behind.
The Council will include clauses about pet ownership in the tenancy agreement, including:

1) Whether pets are allowed in the accommodation and if so, how many and of what species.

2) Breeding of animals should be prohibited on the premises. This will help encourage responsible pet ownership and to reduce the number of unwanted pets.

3) The Council’s position on roaming and unattended animals. For example, people who repeatedly allow their animals to stray should have written warning that unless the problem is resolved, the animal will be re-homed, or they will be asked to leave the accommodation.

4) If it is suspected that animals are being neglected, the owner should be asked to re-home the pet. Contact the RSPCA with any concerns (0870 55 55 999).

5) Housing providers should also require that all tenants provide details of any animals kept in their properties in case of emergencies such as emergency evacuations, fire or flood. All tenants should be encouraged to carry the RSPCA emergency cards. They could also be encouraged to have signs in their windows stating that they have pets that require safekeeping in an emergency.

6) All empty properties, especially those recently vacated, should be checked for abandoned pets.

7) Housing providers should prohibit the keeping of pets on balconies or communal walkways. Tethered pets, especially dogs and cats, may be in danger from falling or being strangled. Others may be neglected or suffer from extremes of weather.

8) Housing providers should prohibit the tethering of any animals – usually goats, dogs and equines – on any land under their control. There should be a suitable policy for warnings and subsequent removals if this condition is breached.

9) Housing providers should ensure staff are suitably trained so they can at least recognize different species of animals, especially common exotic species; are aware of basic welfare standards and able to spot signs of neglect or cruelty.
1. The Council has a statutory responsibility to enforce conditions in premises where dogs are bred under the Breeding of Dogs Act 1973, and will rigorously enforce it.
2. The Council is strongly opposed to irresponsible and uncontrolled private and commercial breeding of puppies and kittens, such as puppy farms. It will prosecute unlicensed breeders rather than just issuing a licence if unlicensed breeders are discovered; ensure breeders keep detailed records as required under the Act, so Council officers can check numbers of litters born; check Kennel Club registers, local press adverts and trading standards records to keep an independent check on breeders and middlemen (when checking against a breeder’s KC affix, the Council will ensure it is checked against all the addresses on the KC database. This should pick up any multiple registrations); and introduce annual veterinary inspections in addition to the initial veterinary inspection. The cost of this annual visit will be recovered through the cost of the licence.
3. The Council does not approve of the breeding of animals for producing changes in bodily form and/or function which are detrimental to their health or quality of life.
4. To control and protect dogs in the community, the Council will fully utilise its Dog Warden Service. Working with other animal agencies, the Council will encourage responsible ownership by encouraging owners to have pets neutered thereby causing a reduction in the number of stray dogs and resultant problems of fouling, traffic hazards etc.
5. The Council supports the introduction of a properly financed and organised National Dog Registration Scheme using microchipping as an effective system of permanent identification.
6. The Council does not approve of the mutilation of animals for cosmetic (non-veterinary) purposes. Tail docking must only be undertaken on the advice of a veterinary surgeon.
7. The Council will continue to promote responsible dog ownership and believes it has an important role in advising and educating the public.
8. The Council will endeavour to re-home dogs that come into its care. Dogs will only be destroyed in abnormal circumstances, and then only having taken into account veterinary advice, and always in a humane way. The Council will also encourage the neutering of dogs as part of its animal welfare education activities and audit its canine records on a regular basis.
9. The Council encourages all dog owners to humanely train their dogs and will make information available on the subject for those who are interested.
10. There should be strict penalties for owners who persistently refuse to clean up after their animals. A person may be guilty of an offence if they do not clear up after their dog on designated land as defined under the Dogs (Fouling of Land) Act 1996 and be liable for a maximum fine upon conviction of £1000.
11. If pets, particularly dogs, are causing a noise nuisance, the owners should be recommended to seek help from an animal behaviour counsellor. If the problem persists, they should be given the option of re-homing the animal.