DOG breeders in Copeland are being urged to check they have a valid licence.
Copeland Council is advising that anyone breeding three or more litters and selling at least one puppy per litter, in a 12-month period, requires a dog breeding licence.
For those breeding one or two litters in a 12-month period and selling puppies, a licence may be required if they are deemed to be breeding dogs and advertising a business of selling dogs.
The amount of profit made from the sale of the animals also affects whether breeders are required to have a licence.
A breeder can breed an unlimited amount of puppies without a licence if they provide documentary evidence that none of the animals have been sold (whether as puppies or as adult dogs).
The council’s Environmental Health team carries out dog breeding inspections and awards the breeder a number based on a rating system of one to five.
Those with a rating of five receive a three-year licence, pay a lower fee and are inspected less frequently.
Members of the Kennel Club Assured Breeder Scheme, of at least three years’ standing, are automatically awarded a rating of five.
Councillor Mike McVeigh, Portfolio Holder for Environmental Health, said: “With the rise in internet site advertising dogs for sale we’re taking this opportunity to highlight the necessary steps breeders need to take in order to make sure they’re compliant with the law.
“We are passionate about animal welfare at Copeland and our officers want to ensure that breeders in Copeland have the right information and advice available to them and that they’re operating on a lawful basis.”
It is an offence to breed and sell dogs without a licence or to fail to meet licence conditions, if required to do so.
Offenders may be imprisoned by up to six months and/or subject to a fine. Repeat offenders can also face disqualification from keeping animals, seizure and deprivation of animals, a fine, and/or up to 51 weeks’ imprisonment.
Anyone purchasing a dog is urged to check that the breeder has the correct licence. They can do this by contacting the council’s Environmental Health Team.