Lucy’s Law victory as third party puppy trading is finally banned

22 Aug 2018       By admin

Despite being man’s best friend, the ever-growing trade in dogs means that many thousands of dogs and puppies are exploited and abused by unscrupulous breeders and traders, every year, purely for profit. The backing of Lucy’s Law will now ban the sale of puppies and kittens by large scale commercial breeders and pet shops. A huge victory and giant leap towards outlawing puppy farms completely.


What is Lucy’s Law?


Lucy’s Law was named after a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Lucy, who was rescued from a puppy farm where she spent 5 years breeding litter after litter. She was kept in appalling conditions in a small pen and never had any veterinary treatment the whole time despite having serious health problems. Lucy was purely a breeding machine for profit. Lucy was lucky to be rescued, but sadly, this is the reality for thousands of breeding dogs around the country, and most are simply killed once they’re no longer of any use.

Lucy’s Law is the campaign set up to ban the sale of puppies and kittens by commercial third-party dealers and pet shops. It is backed by a whole host of celebrities, pivotal vets and animal welfare representatives. In March 2018, the petition to bring Lucy’s Law into practice gained over 100,000 signatures in just 3 days, meaning it could be debated in Parliament. The Environment Minister George Eustice, hinted at the time, that it would be backed by the Government.


On two occasions the charity, Dog’s Trust, shocked Lucy’s Law campaigners by trying to delay the ban, both before and after it was debated in Parliament, claiming there was a shortage of puppies in the UK and the ban should not be ‘rushed into’. However, in July 2018, Lucy’s Law got the cross-party backing from the Welsh Assembly and this week, Michael Gove has announced Lucy’s Law will be passed and the third-party sale of puppies will be banned.


What does this mean for puppy farms and large-scale breeders?


This ban will mean that anyone buying a puppy or kitten under the age of 6 months, will have to do so from the actual breeder or adoption centre.


At present, pet shops and puppy traders can apply for a ‘pet shop license’ which means they’re able to trade in puppies that they have ‘bought in bulk’ from breeders. The problem is, the majority, if not all of these puppies come from puppy farms.


Puppy Farms


Dogs on a puppy farm. Image by RSPCA

Dogs bred on puppy farms are kept in small pens or cages, often never see daylight or have the correct veterinary healthy checks, are never socialised and puppies are usually removed from their mothers before the legal age in order to sell them quickly. The disgusting conditions they’re bred in, mean they’re often very sick and often dying by the time they’re sold on. It also means breeding mothers and abused over and over to produce as many puppies as possible.


Banning the third-party sale of puppies will hopefully put an end to puppy farms which rely so heavily on this trade.


Breeding dog rescued from a puppy farm. Image by RSPCA


Speaking about the new ban, Michael Gove told Sky News: “What we want to do is try to make sure that anyone who has a pet will know that that puppy has been brought up in the right circumstances. This means we are seeking to outlaw third-party sales and say that you can only buy a puppy from a legitimate breeder, someone that you can visit, that you can see that puppy alongside their mum so that you know the animal has been brought up in a caring environment.”


Future developments


Despite the ban on third party sales, this still doesn’t ban large-scale breeding altogether, it simply cuts off the demand. Puppy farms or large-scale breeders can still apply for breeding and pet shop licenses and still be ‘legal’. The difference will be that they will have to sell the puppies themselves rather than via a pet store or puppy trader; there’s still further progress to be made to ban puppy farms altogether, but we’re certainly making progress.


It’s safe to say, we’re certainly seeing a change in hearts, minds and the law regarding animal welfare in the last few months. The Government recently announced a change in law, raising the maximum penalty for animal abuse from 6 months to 5 years imprisonment in England, and with Lucy’s Law coming into force, this will, without doubt, have a huge impact on the puppy farming trade and ensure better welfare for dogs bred and sold in the UK.


Well done Lucy’s Law!

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