Last week OUR DOGS reported that picking up puppies was not deemed as essential travel during the lockdown period. In the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 picking up a puppy is not listed as a ‘reasonable excuse’ for a person to leave their home.
The Kennel Club has recognised ‘animal welfare concerns and potential negative impact of breeders keeping puppies for longer than usual.’ In the new guidance from the CFSG it says, ‘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.’ It is recommended that the journey should take less than six hours and that the handover can be made whilst maintaining social distancing.
The guidance goes on to say, ‘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 New guidance on the moving of puppies 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.’
As it may not be possible to vaccinate or mircrochip puppies during the lockdown they advise that purchasers should contact their vet for advice. The CFSG has also advised groomers, ‘May... consider that maintaining contact with clients remotely and offering advice to them about their pet’s coat is the safest outcome for all concerned. ‘Government Regulations make it clear that an owner taking a pet by vehicle to be groomed is unlikely to be essential travel, however there may be welfare grounds on which grooming may be necessary, particularly if the lockdown persists. ‘ In the introduction to the guidance the CFSG say, ‘Nothing in this document is intended to be anything other than guidance for use in the current extraordinary circumstances that pertain during the controls to prevent spread of coronavirus.
‘It is written to balance the potentially competing interests of public health and the need for the economy and business to keep working. ‘The aim of this document is to assist animal businesses and breeders to operate in a safe manner to protect the health of their staff and clients.’ There is a matrix offering advice for dog walkers, boarding kennels, day dare providers, breeders and groomers on what to do during the current crisis.
The CFSG is an umbrella body that includes The Kennel Club, RSPCA, British Veterinary Association, British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA), Dogs Trust, Battersea, Pet Industry Federation and other animal welfare organisations. To see the full guidance go to - https://bit.ly/3egvc9A.