Sales of puppies and kittens in the UK will soon be forbidden in a bid to crack down on animal exploitation and abuse. The ban will include third party sales and pet shops.
When the law is implemented next year, Britons will have to deal directly with a breeder or with an animal rehoming center if they want to buy a kitten or a puppy younger than 6-months-old.
The move was announced by the Department of Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) following overwhelming public support for the legislation during consultations.
It is hoped the procedure may make animal lovers think twice when deciding if they should acquire a new fluffy family member. Holidays are a popular time for pet purchases, however, many are either eventually abandoned or given to rehoming centers.
“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,” Animal Welfare Minister David Rutley said announcing the measure on December 23.
“This ban on third party sales of puppies and kittens is part of our commitment to make sure the nation’s much-loved pets get the right start in life.”
The law is also known as ‘Lucy’s Law’ after a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel who suffered bad treatment at a Welsh puppy farm. TV vet Marc Abraham, who launched the campaign for the legislation, hailed the move as “a real victory for grass roots campaigners as well as the UK’s dogs and cats.”
Other animal campaigners also welcomed the ban, saying it will contribute to putting an end to pets “being used as breeding machines” and make breeders more accountable for animal welfare.
The ban will come into force “when parliamentary time allows” in 2019 and would make it harder for “high-volume, low-welfare breeders” to operate, according to the department. It comes after another pet-protection law came into force on October 1, prohibiting licensed pet sellers from selling cats and dogs less than eight weeks old.