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Lyttle urges DARD Minister to action legislation on puppy farming

After welcoming the extension of the review of the Welfare of Animals Act to include consideration of puppy farming, Lyttle asked Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Michelle O'Neill if she would act on recommendations for legislation on the issue during Assembly on 28 April.

He asked:

"Does [the Minister] agree that dogs are not a commodity, they should be bought from licensed breeders and, if there are recommendations from the review of animal welfare legislation in Northern Ireland on reform, she will action them without delay?"

Ms O'Neill gave her assurance that she is committed to strengthening the legislation, and highlighted some of the interim report's suggestions on penalties. She also added that members of the public should be careful about where they buy their dogs.

"You should use reputable people and make sure that people have licenses," she said. "If people are in any doubt about someone's practices, I encourage them to contact their council enforcement officers to investigate."

Lyttle, a vociferous supporter of animal rights and Vice Chairperson of the Assembly Working Group on Animal Welfare, has closely monitored the review of the implementation of the Welfare of Animals Act throughout the past few months. Last week, he welcomed the Minister O'Neill's disclosure that the interim report has made 43 recommendations on four themes: sentencing, delivery structures, working together, and serving the public.

Chris in the constituency