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Thursday, 09 April 2020

Picking up puppies ‘not essential’

Featured Written by Our Dogs - 10/04/20

Situation could create significant welfare issues, says KC: A police force has made it clear that picking up a puppy is not deemed as essential travel during the current coronavirus crisis.

Travelling to deliver or pick up a puppy has become a point of discussion for many people in the recent crisis, and Cumbria Police tweeted, ‘Non-essential reasons for travel, Pitlochry to Wakefield via Cumbria to pickup up a puppy.  One of many stop checks this morning to check the necessity of travel.  Please - Stay Home, Save the NHS, Save Lives.’

On its website the Kennel Club backs up the Police’s advice. It says, ‘As the government measures only allow absolutely essential travel – and this can now be enforced – new owners will not be able to pick up puppies during the current lockdown.’

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 KC is currently in conversations with Defra about this issue as they recognise, ‘the animal welfare concerns and potential negative impact of breeders keeping puppies for longer than usual.’
It has been rumoured that there are emails from Defra to say people can pick up puppies but this has not been proven. 

With the government threatening to make the lockdown even more severe it would appear unlikely that they are about to allow people to pick up a puppy.


Meanwhile, puppy breeders face being overwhelmed by rapidly growing litters as the ongoing crisis prevents them from moving them to new homes. The KC has warned the situation could create ‘significant welfare implications’ for puppies.
As vets are only seeing emergency cases they are not offering to give out vaccinations or microchips, meaning puppies are unable to go out for walks.
There are concerns that puppies will not be socialised properly and that hierarchy and aggression issues could develop.

Whilst the basic government advice is that, ‘no one should leave the place they are living without a reasonable excuse’ some have questioned what is meant by a ‘reasonable excuse.’
Andrea Pitt, an expert on canine law, posted on social media that, ‘problems arise with the definition of a “reasonable excise”. ‘The question therefore is, what is a reasonable excuse if it isn’t on the list? As you might expect what is or is not reasonable is a complicated matter. In English and Welsh criminal law it is whether the excuse put forward is reasonable in the eyes of an ordinary member of the public.’

The official Kennel Club guidance on the matter says, ‘Government advice is to stay at home and away from others unless absolutely necessary, so if you already have a litter of puppies, keep in contact with and update new owners by phone, email, video calls, and sending photos – not visits to your home.

‘As the government measures only allow absolutely essential travel – and this can now be enforced – new owners will not be able to pick up puppies during the current lockdown. You can find a list of the current permitted reasons to leave your home from the government... and while this is not an exclusive list, the examples give a good steer on the scale of what is deemed to be a legal reason to leave your house.

‘Of course we recognise the animal welfare concerns and potential negative impact of breeders keeping puppies for longer than usual, and continue to be in dialogue with Defra about these issues. However, in the middle of this global health pandemic, we are required to follow a vital government instruction at this time – which is to ‘stay at home, save lives’.


‘We’re here to support breeders and new owners during this difficult time, and will update this information, and provide further advice and resources for those who have to keep puppies for longer than usual, as soon as we can.’
The KC has also reported that searches on its ‘find a puppy’ tool have increased by up to 84 percent as people search for a dog to help them through the crisis.

Holly Conway, head of public affairs at the Kennel Club said, “With people staying at home, meaning they have more time on their hands and to spend with family, it’s perhaps unsurprising that some are thinking about getting a puppy.
‘While we would underline that now isn’t the right time to bring home a puppy, or make an impulsive decision to get a pet, these figures could be a sign of more people looking to find a breeder directly in the future, which is extremely positive and what Lucy’s Law (the law banning the third-party sales of puppies) aims to impose.’

For more information from the KC about keeping puppies during this crisis go to -

Read 1098 times Last modified on Wednesday, 15 April 2020

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