Legislation to crack down on puppy farms finally made law in Scotland

New legislation in Scotland which aims to crack down on cruel puppy farming has this week been signed by the Minister and made law, a step welcomed as ‘long-awaited and crucial’ by The Kennel Club, the UK’s largest organisation dedicated to the health and welfare of dogs.

Known as ‘Lucy’s Law’, it 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.

Dr Ed Hayes, Head of Public Affairs at The Kennel Club, commented: “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. The new regulations outline that Scottish breeders will require a licence if they breed three or more litters a year, removing the initially proposed and controversial ‘business test’ and resulting in comparatively straightforward legislation which should more effectively aid the crackdown on poor dog breeding practices. The Kennel Club has lobbied policymakers at every stage of the legislative process to ensure that any regulations introduced in Scotland are more effective, fair and straightforward than their English counterparts.

“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,” added Dr Hayes.
“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.
“We look forward to further collaboration with the Scottish Government on the legislation outlined, and will continue engaging with them to follow its progress and understand how it will work in practice and be enforced.”

Parliamentary Liaison Officer for the Scottish Kennel Club, Richard Morrison, added: "After working hard alongside Scottish Government and The Kennel Club, 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."

More information about breeding regulations across the UK and The Kennel Club’s lobbying activity is available on the organisation’s website.