A spokesman for the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) announced today (February 1) that the Public Health (Animals and Birds) (Animal Traders) (Amendment) Regulation 2016 will come into effect and be re-titled the Public Health (Animals and Birds) (Trading and Breeding) Regulations on March 20. New types of licence and permit under the new regulatory regime are now open for application.
The spokesman said, "After the new regulations come into force, any person who sells a dog must obtain a suitable type of licence or permit. There will be three types of licence and one type of permit, namely the Animal Trader Licence, Dog Breeder Licence Category A and Category B, and a one-off permit for dog owners. Holders of a licence or permit are prohibited from selling dogs to persons under the age of 16."
The Animal Trader Licence, an existing licence type, is for persons who sell dogs or other animals or birds at specified premises, but do not keep dogs for breeding and sale, as an animal trader.
The two categories of Breeder Licence are for persons who keep female dogs for breeding purposes at specified premises, and sell those breeding dams or their offspring. Keeping four or fewer female dogs for breeding and sale purposes requires a category A licence while keeping five or more requires a category B licence. Any individual may hold only one category A licence at any one time.
The one-off permit is for persons who sell a dog that he or she keeps as the licensed keeper of that dog. A maximum of two one-off permits can be granted to any single individual within a four-year period.
Existing holders of an Animal Trader Licence can continue their operation until their current licence expires. They should apply for a suitable licence thereafter.
An exemption is introduced for persons conducting genuine rehoming activities for animal welfare purposes on a non-profit making basis. Persons meeting the exemption criteria may apply to the AFCD for an exemption.
New licence conditions and Codes of Practice will be issued to licensed dog traders and breeders after the new regulations take effect. They set out stringent requirements for the licensed premises and care of the dogs to ensure their good welfare. A licensee who breaches a licence condition (including the Code of Practice) is liable to prosecution.
The penalty for contravention of the regulations has also been increased. The sale of animals or birds without a proper licence or permit will be liable to a maximum fine of $100,000, whereas the maximum penalty for contravention of a condition attached to a licence or permit will be a fine of $50,000.
For more details of the new regulations and the application procedure for a licence, permit or exemption, please visit www.pets.gov.hk or call 1823.