Welfare of Cats Bill (HL Bill 41)

A

BILL

TO

Make provision about the commercial breeding of cats; and for connected
purposes.

Be it enacted by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and
consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present
Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

1 Licensing of breeding establishments for cats

(1) No person shall keep a breeding establishment for cats except under the
authority of a licence granted in accordance with the provisions of this Act.

(2) Every local authority may, on application being made to them for that purpose
5by a person who is not for the time being disqualified—

(a) from keeping a pet shop under the Pet Animals Act 1951;

(b) under section 34 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006; or

(c) from the boarding of animals under the Animal Boarding
Establishments Act 1963,

10grant a licence to that person to keep a breeding establishment for cats at such
premises in their area as may be specified in the application, and subject to
compliance with such conditions as may be specified in the licence.

(3) On receipt of an application by a person to a local authority for the grant of a
licence under this Act in respect of any premises—

(a) 15if a licence under this Act has not previously been granted to the person
in respect of the premises, the local authority shall arrange for the
inspection of the premises by a veterinary surgeon or veterinary
practitioner and by an officer of the local authority; and

(b) in any other case, the local authority shall arrange for the inspection of
20the premises by a veterinary surgeon or veterinary practitioner or by an
officer of the local authority (or by both).

(4) Where an inspection is arranged under subsection (3), the local authority shall
arrange for the making of a report about the premises, the applicant and any
other relevant matter; and the local authority shall consider the report before
25determining whether to grant a licence.

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(5) In determining whether to grant a licence for the keeping of a breeding
establishment for cats by any person at any premises, a local authority shall in
particular (but without prejudice to their discretion to withhold a licence on
other grounds) have regard to the need for securing that—

(a) 5the cats will at all times be kept in accommodation that is suitable in
terms of construction, size of quarters, number of occupants, exercising
facilities, temperature, lighting, ventilation and cleanliness;

(b) the cats will be adequately supplied with suitable food, drink and
bedding material, adequately exercised, and visited at suitable
10intervals;

(c) all reasonable precautions will be taken to prevent and control the
spread among cats of infectious or contagious diseases;

(d) appropriate steps will be taken for the protection of the cats in case of
fire or other emergency;

(e) 15all appropriate steps will be taken to secure that the cats will be
provided with suitable food, drink and bedding material and
adequately exercised when being transported to or from the breeding
establishment;

(f) queens are not mated if they are less than one year old;

(g) 20queens do not give birth to any more than one litter per year;

(h) queens do not give birth to any more than three litters of kittens in a
lifetime;

(i) accurate records in a form prescribed by regulations are kept at the
premises and made available for inspection there by any officer of the
25local authority, or any veterinary surgeon or veterinary practitioner
authorised by the local authority to inspect the premises;

(j) there is a programme for enrichment and enhancement (including toys,
climbing apparatus and platforms and overall the ability to display
normal behaviour) of the cats and kittens and that this is approved by
30the local authority;

(k) there is a programme of socialisation of the animals as agreed by the
local authority to ensure that the animals are well socialised and
balanced;

(l) kittens must not be sold until they are at least 56 days old and a person
35shall retain ownership and possession of the kitten or kittens on the
premises until they are at least 56 days old,

and shall specify such conditions in the licence, if granted by them, as appear
to the local authority necessary or expedient in the particular case for securing
all the objects specified in paragraphs (a) to (l) of this subsection.

(6) 40Regulations under subsection (5)(i) shall be made by the Secretary of State by
statutory instrument; and a statutory instrument containing such regulations
is subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of
Parliament.

(7) Any person aggrieved by the refusal of a local authority to grant a licence, or
45by any condition subject to which a licence is proposed to be granted, may
appeal to a magistrates’ court; and the court may on such an appeal give such
directions with respect to the issue of a licence or, as the case may be, with
respect to the conditions subject to which a licence is to be granted as it thinks
proper.

(8) 50Any licence shall (according to the applicant’s requirements) relate to the year
in which it is granted or to the next following year; in the former case, the

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licence shall come into force at the beginning of the day on which it is granted,
and in the latter case it shall come into force at the beginning of the next
following year.

(9) Subject to any cancellation under section 4(3)(a), a licence shall remain in force
5until the end of the year to which it relates and shall then expire.

(10) In the event of the death of a person who is keeping a breeding establishment
for cats at any premises under the authority of a licence granted under this Act,
that licence shall be deemed to have been granted to his personal
representatives in respect of those premises and shall, notwithstanding
10subsection (8) (but subject to subsection (11) and section 4(3)(a)), remain in
force until the end of the period of three months beginning with the death and
shall then expire.

(11) On the application of the personal representatives referred to in subsection
(10), the local authority by which the licence was granted may extend or further
15extend the said period of three months if it is satisfied that the extension is
necessary for the purpose of winding up the deceased person’s estate and that
no other circumstances make it undesirable.

(12) Any person who contravenes the provisions of subsection (1) shall be guilty of
an offence; and if any condition subject to which a licence is granted in
20accordance with the provisions of this Act is contravened or not complied with,
the person to whom the licence was granted shall be guilty of an offence.

2 Inspection of breeding establishments for cats

(1) A local authority may authorise in writing any of its officers or any veterinary
surgeon or veterinary practitioner to inspect (subject to compliance with such
25precautions as the authority may specify to prevent the spread among animals
of infectious or contagious diseases) any premises licensed under this Act or
any premises in respect of which an application for a licence has been made.

(2) Any person authorised under this section may, on producing his authority if
so required, enter any such premises at all reasonable times and inspect them
30and any animals found thereon or anything therein.

(3) Any person who wilfully obstructs or delays any person in the exercise of his
powers of entry or inspection under this section shall be guilty of an offence.

3 Power to inspect other premises

(1) If a magistrates’ court is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for
35suspecting that an offence under section 1(1) of this Act has been or is being
committed at any premises, the court may issue a warrant authorising the
inspection of such premises, using reasonable force if necessary.

(2) An inspection under subsection (1) must be carried out by an officer of a local
authority, a veterinary surgeon or veterinary practitioner authorised for the
40purposes of this section by the relevant local authority.

(3) A warrant issued under subsection (1)

(a) may authorise persons to accompany the person who is executing the
warrant; and

(b) shall continue in force for the period of one month commencing with
45the date of issue.

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(4) The power of entry conferred by the warrant may be exercised at all reasonable
times and any person entering the premises in exercise of that power shall—

(a) produce the warrant if so required; and

(b) comply with such precautions (if any) as the court may specify to
5prevent the spread among animals of infectious or contagious diseases.

4 Offences and disqualifications

(1) A person guilty of an offence under section 1 shall be liable, on summary
conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months or a fine not
exceeding level 4 on the standard scale (or both).

(2) 10A person guilty of an offence under section 2 shall be liable, on summary
conviction, to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale.

(3) Where a person is convicted of any offence under this Act, the court by which
he is convicted may (in addition to or in substitution for any penalty under
subsection (1) or (2)) make an order providing for any one or more of the
15following—

(a) the cancellation of any licence held by him under this Act;

(b) his disqualification, for such period as the court thinks fit, from keeping
an establishment the keeping of which is required to be licensed under
this Act; and

(c) 20his disqualification, for such period as the court thinks fit, from having
custody of any cat.

(4) A court which has made an order under this section may, if it thinks fit,
suspend the operation of the order pending an appeal.

(5) Where a court makes an order under subsection (3)(c), it may also make such
25order as it thinks fit in respect of any cat which—

(a) was in the offender’s custody at the time when the offence was
committed; or

(b) has been in his custody at any time since that time.

(6) An order under subsection (5) may in particular—

(a) 30require any person who has custody of the cat to deliver it up to a
specified person; and

(b) require the offender to pay specified amounts to specified persons for
the care of the cat from the time when it is delivered up in pursuance of
the order until permanent arrangements are made for its care or
35disposal.

(7) A person who—

(a) has custody of a cat in contravention of an order under subsection
(3)(c); or

(b) fails to comply with a requirement imposed on him under subsection
40(6),

shall be guilty of an offence.

(8) Where a court proposes to make an order under subsection (5) in respect of a
cat owned by a person other than the offender, the court shall notify the owner
who may make representations to the court; and if an order is made the owner
45may, within the period of seven days beginning with the date of the order,
appeal to the Crown Court against the order.

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(9) A person who is subject to a disqualification by virtue of an order under
subsection (3)(c) may, at any time after the end of the period of one year
beginning with the date of the order, apply to the court which made the order
for a direction terminating the disqualification from such date as the court
5considers appropriate.

(10) On an application under subsection (9) the court—

(a) shall notify the relevant local authority which may make
representations to the court;

(b) shall, having regard to the applicant’s character and his conduct since
10the disqualification was imposed, any representations made by the
relevant local authority and any other circumstances of the case, grant
or refuse the application; and

(c) may order the applicant to pay all or any part of the costs of the
application (including any costs of the relevant local authority in
15making representations);

(11) In subsection (10) “the relevant local authority” means the local authority in
whose area are situated the premises in relation to which the offence which led
to the disqualification was committed.

(12) Where an application under subsection (9) is refused, no further application
20under that subsection may be made before the end of the period of one year
beginning with the date of the refusal.

5 Fees

(1) The costs of inspecting premises under this Act shall be met by the local
authority concerned.

(2) 25A local authority may charge fees in respect of—

(a) applications for the grant of licences under section 1; and

(b) inspections of premises under section 2.

(3) A local authority may set the level of fees to be charged by virtue of subsection
(2)

(a) 30with a view to recovering the reasonable costs incurred by them in
connection with the administration and enforcement of this Act; and

(b) so that different fees are payable in different circumstances.

6 Interpretation

(1) References in this Act to the keeping of a breeding establishment for cats shall
35be construed in accordance with this section.

(2) A person keeps a breeding establishment for cats at any premises if he carries
on at those premises a business of breeding cats for sale (whether by him or any
other person).

(3) Subject to subsection (5), a person shall be treated as carrying on a business of
40breeding cats for sale at the premises if three or more litters are born to queens
falling within subsection (4) within a period of twelve months, or if a single
queen falling within subsection (4) has more than three litters in its lifetime.

(4) The queens falling within this subsection are—

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(a) queens kept by the person at the premises at any time during the
period;

(b) queens kept by any relative of his at the premises at any such time;

(c) queens kept by him elsewhere at any such time; and

(d) 5queens kept anywhere by any person at any such time under a
breeding arrangement made with him.

(5) Subsection (3) does not apply if the person shows that none of the kittens born
to queens falling within subsection (4) was in fact advertised for sale or sold
during the period (whether by him or any other person).

(6) 10In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires, the following expressions
have the meanings hereby respectively assigned to them—

  • “breeding arrangement” means a contract or other arrangement under
    which the person agrees that another person may keep a queen of his
    on terms that, should the queen give birth, the other person is to
    15provide him with either—

    (a)

    one or more of the kittens; or

    (b)

    the whole or part of the proceeds of selling any of them;

  • “local authority” means the council of a London borough, the council of a
    district or the Common Council of the City of London and in Wales the
    20council of a county or county borough;

  • “queen” means an unneutered, fertile female cat;

  • “relative” means the person’s parent or grandparent, child or grandchild,
    sibling, aunt or uncle, nephew or niece, or someone with whom he lives
    as a couple;

  • 25“veterinary practitioner” means a person who is for the time being
    registered in the supplementary veterinary register;

  • “veterinary surgeon” means a person who is for the time being registered
    in the register of veterinary surgeons.

7 Extent, commencement and short title

(1) 30This Act extends to England and Wales.

(2) This Act comes into force at the end of the period of six months beginning with
the day on which this Act is passed.

(3) This Act may be cited as the Welfare of Cats Act 2014.