I've always been made to believe that it was common knowledge that buying a puppy or a kitten from a pet shop is a bad idea. Because sticking a bunch of young animals together in a public place isn't going to be the healthiest of environments, and that means a bunch of sick baby animals. Apparently the government agrees, and has revealed it's banning pet shops from selling puppies and kittens younger than six months old.
The new proposals have left the consultation stage, and are designed to try and reduce any health problems that come from raising young animals in poor conditions. That means anyone who wants a young puppy or kitten will have to go to a licensed breeder or shelter. As for licensed sellers, a ban on selling animals under eight weeks old is already set to come into effect on 1st October.
Other rules set to come into effect a this point include forcing licensed sellers to include a licence number in any adverts they place, along with informing the licensing authority so someone can check the puppies are still with their mother before any of them are sold.
Campaigners have welcomed this news, noting that a ban of this kind is long overdue. That said they also have warned that there are still "potential loopholes" that could be exploited by disreputable types, which need to be closed off if this ban is going to be a success. Paula Boyden from the Dogs Trust told BBC News that the ban would need re-homing organisations to be regulated if it's going to be a success.
According to The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, England has fewer than 100 licensed third party sellers, a number that includes pet shops. So hopefully these new rules will make a difference and prevent animals being raised in poor conditions.
Meanwhile Scotland has already introduced a bill to tackle puppy farming, and Wales has previously said it would "investigate the potential banning of third party sales". [BBC News]