DOG AND CAT BREEDERS

There will be many existing litters of puppies and kittens and some will currently be ready to be re-homed. The ban on third party sales of puppies and kittens (known as Lucy’s Law) came into effect on 6th April 2020 in England. Although it is recommended not to do so under that legislation and as general best practice, during the coronavirus pandemic because of travel restrictions, it is necessary to allow the breeder to take the puppy or kitten to their new home as collection by the purchaser is restricted. This is acceptable providing the animal is at least eight weeks of age and any viewing of them with their mother and litter mates can be achieved electronically. For the duration of the lockdown in these exceptional circumstances the breeder must ensure that when taking the puppy or kitten to a home address that journey times are minimised, preferably less than six hours, and that the handover can be achieved whilst maintaining social distancing. Alternatively, a commercial transporter licensed for dogs may be used. Only puppies or kittens from a single litter going to the same household should be taken in each journey so that personal hygiene for the breeder or transporter can be maintained including hand washing after the drop off that can only be achieved once the breeder has returned home. The person transporting should ensure that the puppy or kitten is provided with comfortable and appropriate accommodation including bedding during transport. It may be necessary to stop to provide water.

Handover should take place in a room or space large enough for the breeder/transporter and purchaser to maintain their social distance. Gloves should be worn during the handover, removed before returning to the vehicle and disposed of afterwards. The puppy or kitten should be wiped over with a pet safe damp disposable cloth prior to handover and no equipment such as a basket should be given by the breeder to the purchaser. Doors and gates should only be opened and closed by householder. Time in the property should be kept to the absolute minimum.

Paperwork and other checks and documentation should be predominantly completed ahead of meeting. Prior to the dropping off of the puppy or kitten, the purchaser should be given advice on immediate care of them including what food to purchase and allowing them to settle in their new home.

Breeders who are considering mating a bitch or queen should ensure that they have the facility to be able to allow potential purchasers to view the litter remotely. They should also consider how the offspring can be safely delivered complying with the guidance above.

It may not be possible to vaccinate and microchip puppies or kittens in the current lockdown. Breeders and purchasers should contact their veterinary practice for advice. Where there is a high risk of infection with severe disease such as Canine Parvovirus the practice may be able to provide suitable arrangements for vaccination if a disease and public health assessment by the vet shows it to be appropriate and social distancing can be maintained. The breeder’s veterinary practice should be contacted for advice prior to sale. If, on assessment, the veterinary practice feels vaccination is appropriate, it may be that the risk of a visit by a vet and veterinary nurse is considered less of a public health risk than individual animals being taken to each purchaser’s practice. If vaccination is undertaken the pet should be microchipped at the same time if not already implanted.