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Lucy's Law will come into force from 6 April 2020 Published Date: 19/03/2020

The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2019 [SI 2019/1093].  

Lucy’s Law.

Lucy’s Law is the short-hand for the amendment to The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 brought about by The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2019 , which makes unlawful the sales of puppies (dogs under six months) and kittens (cats under six months) by third party sellers/ anyone other than the breeder

The rules in relation to kittens are slightly different.  This note addresses the situation relating to puppies specifically.

It is not possible to breed puppies outside of England (the jurisdiction of the 2018 and 2019 Regulations) and then import them into the English districts covered by the Regulations for sale in contravention of the Regulations. The alleged “loophole” in Lucy’s Law which would allow cross-jurisdictional breeding and selling of puppies is misconceived.

The 2018 Regs will be amended by the 2019 Regs on 6th April 2020. The key change that will be introduced falls in Schedule 3, Paragraph 5 of the 2018 Regulations. Once the 2019 Amendment Regulations come into force, that provision will read:

“Schedule 3

5.— Sale of animals

(1) No animal of any of the following descriptions may be sold as a pet, or sold with a view to being resold as a pet, by or on behalf of the licence holder—

(a) unweaned mammals;

(b) mammals weaned at an age at which they should not have been weaned;

(c) non-mammals that are incapable of feeding themselves;

(d) puppies, cats, ferrets or rabbits, aged under 8 weeks;

(e) puppies or kittens which were not bred by the licence holder.

(2) The sale of a dog must be completed in the presence of the purchaser on the premises.”

The premises for selling and/or breeding which are licensed for selling and/or breeding must be in a specific name relating to specific premises within the licensing authority’s district. The licensable activity, of breeding or selling must take place in those licensed premises and not elsewhere.  Those are the premises that have been inspected on behalf of the licensing authority. The licensing authority must appoint qualified inspectors to inspect any premises on which licensable activities are being carried on (2018 Regs. Part 2, paragraph 4)

Selling of puppies (dogs under six months) cannot be undertaken by anyone but the breeder (2018 Regs. Schedule 3, paragraph 5(1)(e) as amended by the 2019 Amendment Regulations). There can be no licence to sell dogs under six months - that is an unlawful activity for anyone but the breeder who bred the puppies

A breeder can have a licence to breed puppies and to sell those puppies under Schedule 1, Part 5, paragraphs 8 – 9. 

Such breeding premises can only be licensed in England under the Regulations. No location outside of England would be covered by the Regulations. The breeding premises must be located in the district of the local licensing authority which granted the licence (Part 2, paragraph 4(1)(a): “a licence to carry on a licensable activity on premises in the local authority’s area”).

Those are the premises that must have been inspected before the grant of a licence: (Part 2, paragraph 4(2)(a)).

The breeder’s puppies must be:

(a) advertised and/or offered for sale only from the premises where they were bred and reared (Schedule 6 – Specific Conditions paragraphs 1(1)(a) and (b). Paragraph(c) does not apply, of course, because it is not possible for anyone to hold a licence under Schedule 1, paragraph 2 “Selling Animals as Pets” to sell puppies).

(b) sold in the presence of the purchaser at those licensed premises (Schedule 3 para 5(2): “dog” in this context covers both adult dogs and puppies by virtue of the Interpretation section paragraph 2).

(c) shown to a prospective purchaser in the presence of the biological mother (Schedule 6, paragraph 1(1)(6)).  (The short-hand for this is “Where’s Mum?”)

No puppy can be sold or permanently separated from its biological mother under the age of eight weeks at all, by anyone, (Schedule 6, paragraph 1(5)),

[There are exemptions for separation of puppies from mothers if necessary, on health or welfare grounds Schedule 6, paragraph 1(7). This would be for the breeder to prove.]