Warning issued on unlicensed puppy breeders

Press Release

Published on 22 February 2023
Archived on 22 March 2023

Last week, Licensing Officers from Stratford-on-Avon District Council were accompanied by Warwickshire Police and the RSCPA to execute a warrant at an address in Bidford-on-Avon for allegedly breeding dogs without a licence.

The warrant was executed in relation to alleged offences under The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018.

The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 were put in place by DEFRA and are regulated by councils to try to tackle puppy farming and dogs living in poor, unsanitary conditions and being bred continuously purely for the owner to make money. It also aims to stop puppies being sold by third parties and being brought in from abroad to be sold.

Two puppies were found at the property, one of which has been seized and is now in the care of the RSPCA due to welfare concerns.

Further investigations into this matter are ongoing.

Cllr Christopher Kettle, Legal and Community Safety Portfolio at the District Council said: "The Council's duty is to ensure animals are treated humanely, responsibly, and with respect. Breeders are licensed to ensure that they keep good standards for the animals and adhere to the high standards in the legislation. This ensures that bitches are not overbred and kept in good health and conditions, and that puppies are raised in the correct manner giving purchasers reassurance.

"We would like to remind members of the public that the Council 'won't hesitate' to take action against people breeding dogs without a licence and will continue to work with partners to crack down on illegal dog breeding in the District."

The law requires a licence to be held by anyone running a business which breeds and advertises dogs for sale (even if it is just one litter), and/or anyone breeding three or more litters of puppies to sell in any 12-month period (unless they can show that none of the puppies have been sold as puppies or adults).

No puppy should be sold without being seen with the mother, must be a minimum of eight weeks old and be microchipped and have had its first vaccination.

For more information on the requirements and how to apply for a licence please view our website: Apply for an Animal Activities Licence | Stratford-on-Avon District Council

If you are interested in getting a dog, for help and advice please visit:

Contact details

Stratford-on-Avon District Council
Elizabeth House, Church Street,
Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire,
CV37 6HX
Tel: 01789 267575

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Last updated on 22/02/2023