The council is aware of the considerable concern about the practice of selling puppies through pet shops and puppy farms.
Careful thought is always given to the ways the council operates its licensing service, and how it ensures animal welfare is protected, by attaching conditions to licences which involve the sale or breeding of puppies. The council takes its responsibilities very seriously. It has always investigated complaints concerning licenses it has issued, and this includes seeking advice from other experts such as the RSPCA and local vets.
We have found no evidence of illegal activity at any licensed pet shop operating within Wokingham Borough, and all licences issued for the sale of puppies are carefully monitored. If concerns are expressed about businesses outside the Borough, this information is passed onto the local licensing authority for them to deal with; it is not a matter this council can pursue.
The council is also aware campaigners are implying it has the ability to revoke or amend current pet shop licences. This is incorrect. The council refutes any association linking the issue of a legitimate pet shop licence, which may include the sale of puppies, to the illegal and unlicensed breeding of dogs under poor welfare conditions. We are not aware of such operations in Wokingham Borough and if any information to the contrary is presented to the council it will be investigated as a matter of priority.
Finally, all licences issued by the council must be in line with legislation, and unreasonable restrictions cannot be placed upon legally trading businesses without the risk of being challenged in the courts and the public purse bearing the brunt of legal costs.