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30th Aug 2018

Irish veterinary practice tackling puppy farms head on with ‘Puppy Contract’

Kate Demolder

Cara Rescue Dogs

Ireland was recently nicknamed ‘the puppy farm capital of Europe’.

A recently launched ‘Puppy Contract’ is hoping to make a huge difference in the way that young dogs are bred, bought and treated in Ireland.

Irish veterinary practice Village Vets launched the binding contracts this week which aim to allow the general public access to objective criteria for selecting a puppy.

It follows on from the proliferation of puppy farms in Ireland and the subsequent poor health of dogs originating from these establishments. Establishments like Village Vets are keen to provide enforcement and legislation in a highly unregulated industry.

In 2016, it was estimated that Irish export puppy numbers were as high as 100,000 annually, which does not even include the puppy farm sales on home-soil.

The contract enables prospective pet owners to make an informed decision about the puppy they are buying, as well as helping them make an educated judgement about the person they are buying the puppy from.

It provides set questions related to the puppy’s background, health and welfare, breeder/seller, mother and father, inherited conditions, the puppy’s own health to date, vaccination details, registration papers and/or pedigree certificates and the puppy’s social experiences and living environment to date.

This helps to ascertain if the puppy is ready and suitable for its new home and family and provide total clarity for the prospective owner.

The contract will also help diligent sellers ensure the buyer has accepted the responsibility and commitment to care for a new pet.

A signed Puppy Contract warrants that the buyer confirms he/she believes they can provide for the animal’s future health and wellbeing, that no member of the buyer’s family has ever committed an animal welfare violation and, should for any future reason, they will no longer be able to care for the dog’s health or wellbeing, that they promise to contact the seller for counsel on next steps to rehoming the dog.

Licensed pet shops in England were recently hit with a ban from selling puppies and kittens younger than eight weeks old due to the Government-approved ‘Lucy’s Law’.

The law – which will mean that those who wish to buy or adopt a pet that’s less than six months old will now have to go to the breeder or a rescue centre – will come into place from 1 October.

Back in July, it was announced that a number of new measures were to be introduced to deal with the growing number of puppy farms in Ireland.

The guidelines, published after lengthy delays including an extended consultation process, come into effect from January 2019.

They include stronger provisions for animal welfare, breeding limits, kennel sizes, exercise areas, socialisation of animals, staffing levels and training, registration and record keeping.

The Village Vets Puppy Contract is 100% free and available to download right here.

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