A DOG breeder and puppy expert from Oswestry is setting up a week-long conference on how best to educate people around ethical breeding.

Rebecca Walters, 42, from Pupstarts Breeders in Oswestry, is putting her two decades of experience into action with the The Dog Breeder Convention from November 19-28.

The convention will include a National Dog Breeder Day on Thursday, November 25 and delegates will meet vets, vet nurses, behaviourists, nutritionists and welfare campaigners and learn about ethical and responsible breeding practices.

Rebecca said: “Breeders need support so the puppies they bring into the world are healthy and grow up to become well-rounded family pets.

“With so much demand and puppy farms quite rightly being in the spotlight, breeders are often cast as villains cashing in.

“But we aren’t all like Cruella De Ville and the conference will enable breeders to learn and work together to improve standards and conditions for the dogs and puppies.

“There is little opportunity for breeders to learn to be excellent, to have a bar set, to have a standard to aim for and this needs to change.”

Rebecca started her career in animal welfare, working at Battersea Dogs and Cats Home in the 1990s, where she experienced abandoned pets that were perfectly healthy being put to sleep.

With the puppy and kitten population rising by 3.2 million in the last 18 months, Rebecca says it is vital that there is a nationally regulated qualification for breeders.

Currently, DEFRA guidance states licensed breeders must have a minimum Level 3 OFQUAL qualification and the only related subjects available are Canine Studies and Canine Training and Behaviour.

Rebecca added: “It’s staggering that there is no official educational pathway for dog breeders in the UK.

“With that being the case, how can we improve standards and conditions for the dogs and puppies?”

The Dog Breeder Convention is free and runs from November 19-28 and to find out more about Rebecca visit www.pupstartsbreeders.com