Lucy's Law - Christmas 2021 pet buying/selling information

Thu 16th December 2021

Buying a pet is an exciting time, with Christmas a popular time to purchase a new pet. But pets are a long-term commitment and you should always make sure you’re ready and able to commit to the responsibilities that come with caring for an animal before you start looking. 

Given the high demand for pets you might find that responsible breeders now have waiting lists for dogs and cats. Buying a healthy animal that has been bred in good welfare conditions can take time, but it is worth the wait.

By law, all business premises must hold a licence to sell animals as pets and to breed dogs for sale, including from residential properties. It is recommended that if you are looking for a pet this Christmas that you look for licensing information on the Councils website or ask for proof of licence when visiting the premises.

A change in animal welfare law from the 1 October 2018 tightened controls on pet sellers and requires all licensed premises to display their licence details and issuing authority on any advertising such as websites or Facebook accounts.

A public register of those business licensed to breed and sell dogs can be found on the council’s website at

A public register of those business licensed to sell animals as pets including cats and kittens can be found on the council’s website at

Lucy’s Law

On the 6 April 2020 the Government has introduced landmark new legislation to tackle the low-welfare, high volume supply of puppies and kittens, by banning their commercial third-party sale in England.

‘Lucy’s Law’ means that anyone wanting to get a new puppy or kitten in England must now buy direct from a breeder, or consider adopting from a rescue centre instead. Licensed dog breeders are required to show puppies interacting with their mothers in their place of birth. If a business sells puppies or kittens without a licence, they could receive an unlimited fine or be sent to prison for up to six months.

The law is named after Lucy, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel who was rescued from a puppy farm where she was subjected to terrible conditions. Puppy farms are located across the UK with most depending on third-party sellers or 'dealers' to distribute often sick, traumatised, unsocialised puppies which have been taken away from their mother at just a few weeks old.

This often involves long-distance transportation, with the puppy or kitten suffering life-threatening medical, surgical, or behavioural problems which are passed on to unsuspecting new owners. Lucy’s Law effectively removes the third-party dealer chain, resulting in all dog and cat breeders becoming accountable for the first time.

It is strongly advised that you do not leave your pet anywhere that doesn’t hold a licence. If you place your beloved pet with a boarding kennel, stranger, friend or relative for payment and they are unlicensed you have no guarantee that the property is safe, has relevant insurance in place and that it meets animal welfare standards. Don’t take the risk.

For more information on safely buying a healthy pet this Christmas please visit the Petfishing website at

Just Beverley