Lucy's Law. Why they've got it wrong

As the largest seller of puppies in the UK Dogs 4 Us has more than 50 years experience of dealing with hundreds of thousands of customers and many breeders large and small, therefore, we feel we are the most qualified to speculate what will happen if a third party ban on the sale of puppies is introduced.

1.  The demand for puppies in the UK, estimated at about 800,000 per year, outstrips the supply. With Kennel Club registrations accounting for only around 227,000 puppies (2016 figures) and an estimated 350,000 coming from UK home breeders, there is a gap of around 223,000 puppies, which need to be sourced from elsewhere.  Where do all the other puppies actually come from?

Let us understand the data properly before we ban anything.

With about 80 pet shop licences for puppy sales this means that the majority of third party sales are already underground.

A ban will only have an impact on businesses which are above board and on the radar. These are only a drop in the ocean against the estimated supply of puppies coming from UK puppy farms and overseas imports. It would appear that puppy farms and importers are therefore likely to be already resourcing unlicensed, illegal vendors.

2.  A Pet shop licence means the seller is already “on the radar” and open to scrutiny – all sellers are inspected by the licensing authority who have the right to enter the premises as part of the licensing enforcement duties and yet pet shops in addition are subject to scrutiny by the public as most are open six to seven days a week.

If you do not have a licence and sell animals from your home the authorities which includes the RSPCA need a warrant to enter your premises.  Taking all this into account a ban would make it far harder for authorities to gain access to any premises if third party sales were being undertaken there.

The problem is NOT with the sellers it is with the breeders and this is where the changes need to occur.

DEFRA estimate 80,000 puppies were sold last year via third party sales.  So if these third party sellers disappear the demand will not! So where will those 80,000 people go to purchase their puppy?

Will commercial breeders give up and disappear?  No they won’t.  Breeding and purchasing will simply go underground with no licensing regulations, inspections, etc.

Lucy’s Law will condemn thousands of breeding bitches in the UK to a life of misery!

Horror stories will start to unfold very very quickly where people have purchased a sick and dying puppy off unscrupulous breeders on the black market.

Supply gone – Demand still there is a recipe for disaster so we say clamp down on the breeders Mr Gove and not the sellers.

If this ban is introduced how on earth do the government plan to monitor the situation and if someone who is not a breeder is found selling a puppy will they be prosecuted?

More importantly if a person or a family are found purchasing a puppy from a third party seller will they also be prosecuted?

This whole third party ban is fraught with complications and disastrous consequences.

Lucy’s Law has been driven forward by Marc Abraham (vet) and Andrew Penman Daily Mirror (journalist) both have absolutely no experience of dealing with breeders or purchasers and are therefore ignorant to the true outcome of what will happen if this ban is introduced.

What to do about it?

  1. Respond to the DEFRA paper https://consult.defra.gov.uk/animal-health-and-welfare/third-party-sales/supporting_documents/ThirdPartybanSummaryCFECondocJuly2018.pdf
  2. Register to be consulted via this web form linked here https://consult.defra.gov.uk/animal-health-and-welfare/third-party-sales/