NEW legislation to crack down on puppy farming has been hailed as "long-awaited and crucial" after it was made law.

Lucy's Law will mean that puppies and kittens can no longer be sold in Scotland by a third party seller such as a pet shop or commercial dealer unless they have bred the animal themselves.

Instead, from September, anyone looking to buy or adopt a puppy under six months must either deal directly with the breeder or an animal rehoming centre.

The move has been welcomed by The Kennel Club, the UK's largest organisation dedicated to the health and welfare of dogs.

Dr Ed Hayes, head of public affairs at The Kennel Club, said: "We are delighted that these new animal breeding and sale regulations, which include Lucy's Law, have been made into law in Scotland – it's a long-awaited and crucial step.

"Sadly, too often irresponsible breeders in the UK and abroad have depended on commercial third party sellers, like 'dealers' or pet shops, to disguise the horrific conditions puppies are bred and brought up in to the public, readily making a huge profit while causing untold suffering.

"We hope Lucy's Law will help bring an end to this and alongside improving welfare conditions for puppies, it will also encourage anyone thinking of getting a puppy to really do their research and find a responsible breeder.

"This couldn't be more important right now, as we continue to see the demand for puppies rise during the pandemic."

The organisation has also commended the breeding regulations for breaking away from the complex English approach to licensing, which The Kennel Club believes unfairly and disproportionately targets responsible, low volume breeders, as well as being difficult to enforce and understand.

Dr Hayes continued: "We are pleased that the Scottish Government recognised and acted on our concerns about the 'business test', and commend them for heeding our warnings to not repeat the mistakes made in the parallel English regulations, which we know haven't been effective in tackling poor breeding practices.

"With the ongoing unprecedented demand for puppies during the pandemic, we wholeheartedly welcome this positive step forward for dog welfare at such a crucial moment, and are delighted that our lobbying and engagement with Scottish officials, alongside the Scottish Kennel Club, has been successful."

Richard Morrison, parliamentary liaison officer for the Scottish Kennel Club, said: "We welcome these new breeding regulations which aim to tackle bad breeding practices and cruel puppy farmers.

"Alongside Lucy's Law, which is a huge win for dog welfare, we believe the more simple approach to licensing will be better for dogs and puppies across the nation, encouraging high welfare, responsible and caring breeding while stamping out those who carelessly churn out puppies for profit."

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