Page last updated at 11:40 GMT, Saturday, 21 November 2009

Licence plan targets puppy farms

A Berkshire council is considering changing the terms of its pet shop licences to reduce the number of dogs sold by illegal puppy farms.

Wokingham Borough Council has been consulting businesses and animal welfare experts about the plan.

Under the proposals, shops would have to make extra checks to ensure animals have not come from unlicensed breeders.

The council says dogs from unlicensed breeders are more likely to be born with defects and suffer from ailments.

Council animal warden Mandy Dorman said: "The extra licensing conditions we'd like to bring in would ensure that our licensed pet shops would have to make checks including the puppy's age, that it has been micro-chipped and started its vaccinations and they'd have to ensure that it had been bred by a licensed breeder living within 45 miles of the store.

"If all these extra checks are carried out then it eliminates the risk of a puppy being originally sourced from a puppy farm, which generally aren't licensed, aren't within 45 minutes drive of Wokingham Borough and don't bother to start essential healthcare vaccinations."

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