A PET shop owner with 40 years experience says new regulations introduced to combat puppy farming are inadvertently threatening his business.

Danny Brown, of Oaks Animal Kabin, The Courtyard Centre, Huntick Road, Lytchett Minster, insists he may be unable to continue breeding and selling birds and rabbits due to the spiralling costs and "confusion" caused by the new rules.

He told the Echo that now he requires three separate licences, while up until now he's only needed one.

His old licence cost £82 for the year –now he is being told to pay a combined total of £777.

And Mr Brown says small pet shop owners like himself have been told to make all the adjustments within eight weeks.

"The information from both the guidance notes and the inspectors seems to be contradictory," he said. "I was told by inspectors I don't need a breeding licence, but guidance notes say I do.

"In March my licensing council changes from Purbeck to North and South Dorset and I will be getting a new licensing officer who may have a completely different interpretation on the regulations."

New regulations specify the sizes of rabbit hutches and bird aviaries, which materials they should be constructed out of, lighting, temperatures inside, availability of access to outside areas and more.

Mr Brown, who argues the new species categories are also confusing, said: "The paperwork that now comes with the new regulations is excessive for small businesses, you almost have to employ someone just to maintain the paperwork – evidence forms, animal identification forms and schedules."

Insisted that independent pet shop owners are the "backbone" of the industry, Mr Brown warned: "If independents close due to the cost of new regulations, that leaves only the corporate pet stores or places like Facebook, Gumtree, and backyard breeders where animals are not regulated or monitored.

"Backyard dealers can make more money selling birds and animals in a week than a shop can do in a month, and this is undeclared income."

The new regulations were introduced for activities involving pet animals in England, in part to prevent the cruel practice of puppy farming.

However, Mr Brown believes the regulations are now less about animal welfare, more to do with raising tax revenue.