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Decision to omit puppies flawed - RSPCA.

Byline: Graham Henry graham.henry@walesonline.co.uk

CHARITIES have criticised a decision by Welsh ministers to implement a "flawed" staff-to-dog ratio in an overhaul of breeding regulations - which they claim could lead to workers being in charge of hundreds of dogs.

The Welsh Government confirmed before Christmas it would proceed in implementing a minimum ratio of one staff member for every 20 adult dogs, following a consultation which ended in October.

Natural Resources and Food Minister Alun Davies said the ratio would be part of "efficient and enforceable" regulations.

But the RSPCA in Wales criticised a decision to make the ratio apply to adult dogs only - saying it meant that, depending on the litter size of dogs, a staff member could be responsible for up to 200 dogs each.

The Dogs Trust said the proposed ratio was "wholly inappropriate".

The review of regulations followed scores of widely publicised scandals revealing the scale of the puppy farming trade in Wales.

Mr Davies said: "Following careful analysis of the evidence received, it is my intention to proceed with a minimum staff-to-adultdog ratio of one to 20.

"This will act as a benchmark for local authority licensing officers to determine the most appropriate ratio for individual premises based on critical factors such as breed, litter size, nature of premises and breeding programmes."

The regulations are earmarked to come into force from February.

But RSPCA Cymru said it was "deeply disappointed" the Welsh Government was proceeding with regulations that exempted puppies.

It claimed that, depending on the size of a breeding bitch's litter, an attendant could be caring for as many as 200 dogs - allowing for "as little as two minutes to provide for each animal in a working day".

Spokeswoman Claire Lawson, said: "While the Welsh Government's intention to implement new dog breeding regulations is welcome, RSPCA Cymru is concerned that this flawed ratio could damage the aim of the legislation to raise standards across dog breeding establishments in Wales.

"The welfare of dogs at breeding establishments is a very important issue for the RSPCA and we are deeply disappointed that puppies are to be excluded from the staff to dog ratio."

CAPTION(S):

The RSPCA has hit out at the Welsh Government's plans not to include puppies in the staff-to-dog ratio it will implement as part of an overhaul of breeding regulations ANDREW

ANDREW JAMES

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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Dec 31, 2013
Words:394
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