The Minister of State at the Department of Rural and Community Development, Seán Canney TD, today (Thursday, 27 December) reminded operators of Dog Breeding Establishments about the new Guidelines that come into effect on 1 January 2019.
By law, anyone that keeps six or more bitches, that are over six months old and capable of being used for breeding purposes, must register their premises as a Dog Breeding Establishment with their local authority.
“There is a substantial shift in the new guidelines with a focus on the welfare of dogs and pups. Better socialised pups, housed in appropriate accommodation, make for better pets. Where there is a focus on socialisation in the key first few weeks of life, there is a smoother transition to life in a family home.
“Breeders have had several months to familiarise themselves with the new requirements and, if they haven’t already done so, they should now seek the necessary guidance and support they require to meet the new standards.”
Minister Canney said that he wants to see high standards achieved by Dog Breeding Establishments. He explained that the Guidelines are in place to support the improvement of standards and form part of the framework within which local authorities carry out inspections and issue improvement notices where required:
“The local authorities can make unannounced inspections of these establishments, which will help to drive up standards.
“The development of these guidelines took into account responses received through consultation with the public and industry experts.”
The revised Dog Breeding Establishment Guidelines can be viewed here.
There is a substantial shift in the new guidelines towards a focus on the welfare of dogs and pups. The Guidelines are available here and a report providing information on (1) the process undertaken when revising the Guidelines and (2) the next steps is available here.
A Dog Breeding Establishment is a premises at which bitches are kept, not less than six of which are (a) more than six months old, and (b) capable of being used for breeding purposes.
The first set of Guidelines became effective from January 2012 and related to the operation of establishments and compliance with the Dog Breeding Establishment Act 2010.
Subsequently a working group developed a draft set of revised Guidelines which were subject to a public consultation process which closed on 28 February 2017. The working group included representatives from the ISPCA, the DSPCA, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, the Department of Agriculture Northern Ireland, Local Authority Veterinary Inspectors and the then Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government.
The Guidelines published for public consultation included proposed changes relating to standards and sizes for kennels, guidance for exercise areas, hygiene protocols, exercise periods, socialisation, staffing requirements, training requirements for staff, breeding programmes and retirement plans.
Subsequently, the Department considered all comments received through the consultation process, engaged further with the members of the original working group, and finalised the Guidelines. The new Guidelines were published in July and come into effect on 1 January 2019.