The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) announced on Monday two new licensing conditions for pet shops selling cats, dogs and rabbits that will take effect in 2014.
From Jan 1, pet retailers will not be allowed to sell a dog, cat or rabbit to any individual under 16. Customers under this age must be accompanied by their parents or legal guardian in order to purchase an animal.
Pet retailers must also conduct a mandatory pre-sale screening for each transaction to assess if a customer would make a suitable pet owner before he buys a pet. This includes ensuring that the customer has read up on the pet, is familiar with its characteristics and knows a veterinarian that the pet could be taken to when ill. These conditions will help reduce impulse buying of pets by children and the related problems of pet abandonment or poor pet care, the AVA said in a statement.
The new licensing conditions were developed in consultation with the Pets Enterprises and Traders Association, pet retailers and in line with the Animal Welfare Legislative Review Committee's recommendations made in March 2013.