Interesting welfare law that a lot of pet owners break ………..

I have recently read a section of the transport legislation and thought it was quite interesting.  The legislation describes specific conditions where animals are unfit for transport and one of these specific conditions


“dogs and cats of less than eight weeks of age, unless they are
accompanied by their mother”

This means that legally no puppy or kitten can be transported if they are less than 8 weeks of age unless they have constant access to their mother. There is an exception for those puppies or kittens that are orphaned and that the transport is to protect their welfare.


Although this law does seem a bit extreme, it does help to highlight the importance of allowing puppies and kittens time with their mother. Breeders have a responsibility to the welfare of the animals under their care to ensure that these animals are not rehomed until they are properly weaned.  Common sense on everyone’s behalf has to be taken into consideration when it comes to buying, selling and transporting young animals and the UK has some of the highest welfare standards in Europe.  I do however feel that the welfare laws need to be tightened when it comes to the selling of puppies in this country.  Although the transportation of 7 week old puppies without their mother is illegal, it is still perfectly legal to run a puppy farm.  Puppy farms are commercial dog breeding facilities operated with an emphasis on profits, often at the expense of animal welfare.

From experience I can say that a lot of puppies purchased over the internet, through social networking sites, from a guy in the pub etc. and picked up at a service station or home delivered “for your convenience”, do not tend to be as healthy as they first appear, and may be coming from one of these “puppy farms”.  They rarely have the proof of vaccination that you have been promised.  The pedigree papers are rarely in the post and although treated for parasites “last week”, many have heavy parasite burdens that I have known to be fatal.

I would also urge all clients looking to purchase a puppy to make sure they are able to visit the puppies in the environment they are coming from and be able to see at least one of the parents.  Even if you are able to see the puppy in this environment, do not feel obliged to purchase the puppy.  Often I find when clients  are faced with puppies kept in poor conditions, they buy the puppies to get them out of this environment. By doing this you are encouraging a poor breeder to continue breeding and
potentially leaving yourself with a very ill pet requiring expensive veterinary treatment.

Rory Thomson BVMS MRCVS