NINETY-three dog breeding inspections were carried out by Ceredigion council officers last year – 23 of which did not have licences.

Dog breeders in Ceredigion must comply with 19 conditions and are inspected every year without warning.

It includes the number of bitches allowed, the size of their living conditions as well as access to enrichment  and socialisation areas and staffing ratios.

Members of the council’s audit committee were told that there are 30 licensed breeders in the county with licences valid for one year.

Reporting officer Carwen Evans, said that officers can amend individual licences in order to impose additional conditions including reducing the number of dogs permitted, shortening the licence period and the size of an area for breeding.

“When the service is in receipt of complaints regarding animal welfare issues at both licensed and unlicensed breeding establishments, these are investigated thoroughly by carrying out inspection of the premises and resident dogs and puppies,” a report to committee states.

Chairman Cllr Rowland Rees-Evans highlighted the reliance on information from the public, with Mrs Evans adding that complaints will often come in from licensed breeders about those not following regulations.

“It’s those you don’t know about that’s the problem,” he said.

Recent enforcement action includes the successful prosecution of an unlicensed dog breeding establishment in August 2019, resulting in a sixth month prison sentence and a suspended sentence as well as the dismissal of an appeal against a decision not to renew a licence in November.

The committee agreed a recommendation to write to the Welsh Government to highlight the need for additional funding to address the issues arising from dog breeding in those counties with the greatest regulatory workload, such as Ceredigion.

Continuing the current approach to education and enforcement was supported and any further changes to licensing conditions and regulations will be brought to the attention of elected members.