A small independent charity in Kent has taken legal action against the council responsible for licensing the biggest dog breeding puppy farm operation in the UK.
Chancepixies wanted to do something to prevent overbreeding and challenge the public’s attitude towards buying puppies so when they found that the breeding establishment, ‘Little Rascals’ in Lincolnshire, were licensed to hold 200 breeding bitches and, therefore, capable of churning out over 1000 puppies a year, they decided to take action.
Local authorities have control of dog breeding in their areas and they have the power to grant or refuse dog breeding licences and to set out conditions attached to licences. However, Chancepixies say that on 20 January 2016 North Kesteven District Council granted a license to Swindells (trading as ‘Little Rascals’) to keep 200 breeding bitches, and 59 stud dogs, and in so doing completely disregarded the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
‘Little Rascals’ trades from an old dairy farm and the buildings are, therefore, designed to keep cattle and are, clearly, not a suitable environment for domestic pets. The public are denied access to the majority of the buildings and only a tiny number of the 60 stud dogs are on display for visitors to see.
The dogs in this environment are, clearly, not cared for, raised or treated as domestic pets and the result is that customers will purchase these puppies at knocked down prices only to find that they have health problems or, indeed, behaviour problems due to under-socialisation.
It appears quite clear that Swindells are failing to protect the very basic rights of these pups to include their need for a suitable environment, their ability to exhibit natural behaviour and to be free from suffering, pain or disease – all of which are protected under the Animal Welfare Act.
Chancepixies launched their legal challenge against North Kesteven District Council in April 2016 on the grounds that the Animal Welfare Act was being ignored. In a hurried response, the council cancelled the breeding licence and re-issued it under new terms thereby correcting several mistakes. However, the amendments did not prevent a High Court judge, on 28 June 2016, from agreeing with Chancepixies that re-determining the breeding licence was not allowed. Chancepixies intend to monitor the actions of the Council and bring a new Judicial Review challenge against the new licence.
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