NEW licence checks for animal were carried out on 95 per cent of all licensee holders by the 31 December deadline for new animal licensing rules.

Of the five per cent, which came in late, all have now been inspected.

Just five premises failed to gain at least a one star rating in Wiltshire, and meant that their licence was taken away.

Those premises which received a one or two star rating will be subject to unannounced visits throughout the year.

190 businesses with animals now hold the new licence.

Licensing Manager Linda Holland said: “It has been a challenge and DEFRA didn’t help by constantly changing guidance. The new inspection has increased from one hour to around 90 minutes and businesses owners with 20 years of experience are having to prove work in ways they have never had to before. Areas for example include cleaning and feeding regimes.

“The new licence is however about animal welfare and I do think that it will have a positive impact.”

Part of the reason for a shake up of regulations is to put pressure on dog breeders to register officially and to cut illegal puppy farming.

Ms Hollands confirmed that Wiltshire Council had gained intelligence on 12 premises which were not licences and all had since come forward to get licenced.

Dog breeders are only required to have a licence if they breed three or more litters a year and make £1000.

Linda Holland added: “We do a lot of intelligence gathering and it is also to do with educating the public. All breeders should show their licence number on their website, that is something for the public to look out for.”