The Pet Industry Federation is the UK trade association that represents over 2000 pet businesses. Our members include pet shops, kennels, catteries, manufacturers and suppliers and pet groomers.  PIF has no retailer members that sell puppies.

Under the 1951 Pet Animals Act, anyone selling pet animals (other than the breeder) needs a pet shop licence. The Act allows for sellers to operate from a traditional pet shop or a private dwelling. High street pet shops are subject to a high level of scrutiny from the general public, as most are open 6-7 days per week. The seller who operates from a private dwelling is not subject to anything like the same scrutiny.

According to a recent Freedom of Information Survey, there are around 3,000 pet shop licences in the UK. Of these, about 80 are licensed to sell puppies, with 30 being traditional ‘bricks and mortar’ retail premises.

New Animal Activities Licensing regulations (AAL), which cover dog breeding and pet vending, will raise the bar on businesses which are involved in these activities. We feel that these enhanced conditions (which will come into force later in 2018) will go a long way towards overcoming many of the welfare issues that a ban on third party puppy and kitten sales would seek to resolve.

The demand for puppies in the UK (estimated at about 800,000 per year) outstrips the supply. With Kennel Club registrations only accounting for about 227,000 puppies (2016 figures) and an estimated 350,000 coming from UK home breeders, there is a gap of circa 223,000 puppies which need to be sourced from elsewhere.

PIF is concerned that if an outright ban on third party sales be brought in without allowing the new AAL regulations to become established and demand for puppies remains high, this would potentially lead to sales going underground and prevent the opportunity to put the new regulations and enforcement into these vendors to ensure that the welfare of the animals remains paramount.

PIF’s view is that whilst supporting the principle of a ban, there may be an advantage in allowing AAL to bed in and then to evaluate how a ban can be successfully implemented. In addition, education is required to discourage people from impulse buying, and to buy from responsible breeders where welfare is paramount.


Pet Industry Federation, 1 Cobbs Court, High Street, Olney, Buckinghamshire, MK46 5QN

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