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Animal welfare campaigners are celebrating after the government confirmed yesterday (23 December) that is will be banning third party sales of puppies and kittens.

Animal Welfare Minister David Rutley announced that the ban called ‘Lucy’s Law’ will go ahead following a public consultation. Ninety-five per cent supported the ban which will help bring an end to the terrible welfare conditions found in puppy farming and solve a range of existing animal welfare issues.

Lucy’s Law will crack down on puppy farmers and high volume low welfare breeders, and mean that anyone looking to buy or adopt a puppy or kitten under six months must either deal directly with the breeder or with an animal rehoming centre.

During a visit to Battersea Cats and Dogs Home, Animal Welfare Minister David Rutley said, “This ban on third party sales of puppies and kittens in part of our commitment to make sure the nation’s much-loved pets get the right start in life. I pay tribute to the Lucy’s Law campaign and the many stakeholders who have passionately campaigned for this ban. Today’s decision builds on our previous action in this area, including banning the sale of puppies under eight weeks and tackling the breeding of dogs with genetic disorders.

“I urge anyone who is thinking of buying a puppy, or any pet, at this time of year to pause and think carefully before doing so. Pets become a part of our families and it is a decision that requires careful consideration and planning. it should not be undertaken on a whim or as a surprise. That is why we promote responsible pet ownership in our welfare codes and I urge fellow animal lovers to consider the idea of rehoming a dog from the many wonderful organisations across the country.”

Minister Rutley chatting to staff at Battersea Dogs and Cats Home and meeting Nelly, a West Highland Terrier who was rescued from a puppy farm.

Marc Abraham, TV Vet, and founder of PupAid and the Lucy’s Law campaign to ban third party puppy and kitten sales, said, “This is a real victory for grass roots campaigners as well as the UK’s dogs and cats. On behalf of my phenomenal Lucy’s Law team I thank the government, and every animal lover, ethical animal welfare organisation, parliamentarian, and celebrity that’s helped make Lucy’s Law’s ban on third party puppy and kitten sales a reality.

“The third party trade supports and sustains both legal and illegal puppy dealing, inappropriate activities suffering exactly the same negative welfare implications; effectively the puppy or kitten (and their mum) is damaged before reaching the licensed or unlicensed seller. Thanks to Lucy’s Law’s ban on third party dealers, every breeder now becomes accountable and transparent, prospective owners will always see mum interacting with puppy or kitten in the place they were born, and illegally smuggled pups become more difficult to sell, make it making it the first major step in tackling irresponsible dog and cat breeding in the UK and beyond.

“Lucy’s Law will help end puppy farming, protect the future health and happiness of dogs like poor little Lucy, as well as encourage prospective pet owners to adopt from their local rescue shelter too.”

Christmas is often a popular time of year for puppy and kitten buying and selling, but without properly considering their needs, many of these pets are abandoned or given to rehoming centres to deal with.

The government also adds that fully supports charities calling for responsible dog ownership, agreeing that pets should not be bought as a surprise.

The government also added that it will continue to work with stakeholders on the issue of whether non-commercial rescue and rehoming centres will require a licence to operate after over ninety per cent supported the idea in a call for evidence.

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