RSPCA Cymru have given a cautious welcome to the new 'Lucy's Law' regulations laid by the Welsh Government which aim to end third-party selling of young puppies and kittens in Wales.

Under the proposals, anyone who wants to sell pets in Wales has to meet minimum animal welfare standards for the first time, with a new licensing scheme introduced for pet sellers.

  • Puppies or kittens under six months of age not bred by the licence holder cannot be sold.
  • Puppies, kittens, ferrets or rabbits cannot be sold until they are at least eight weeks of age
  • Local authorities across Wales will need to provide more data about the numbers of licenced premises in a locality - a first for the UK
  • Licenses must be renewed annually, and will be granted on how sellers treat their animals and comply with the Animal Welfare Act

RSPCA Cymru is now seeking assurances that rescue centres that rehome animals will be exempt from the ruling - to ensure rescued puppies and kittens can continue to be rehomed.

The animal rescue charity is also concerned that the regulations do not address potential loopholes - as has been seen since a similar ban came into force in England in April 2020, including third party sellers reinventing themselves as rescues or saying they bred puppies and kittens in another country to circumvent the ban.

Members of the Senedd will vote on the law in the coming weeks - and the RSPCA believes the regulations coming into force in September must be 'the latest step in ... a wide-ranging and holistic journey' to improve welfare outcomes for puppies and kittens in Wales.

However, the Welsh Conservatives are calling for Lucy's Law to be brought in sooner than September, calling the delay 'cruel'.

Shadow Minister for climate change, energy and rural affairs, and Welsh Conservative spokesperson on animal welfare, Janet Finch-Saunders MS commented:

“For a nation of animal lovers, this is appalling. It’s cruel and can only lead to months more suffering for untold numbers of animals in Wales.

“We all knew that the Welsh Government had been dragging its heels compared to England over animal welfare, specifically Lucy’s Law, but this is too much. So I am calling on the government to review the introduction of Lucy’s Law and bring it forward – or explain why this cannot be done.

“Every day that the legislation to shut down puppy and kitten farms is not enacted is another day that animals are left to suffer. This is unacceptable in a modern Wales.”

RSPCA head of public affairs David Bowles said: "The publication of this new law is an important moment for Wales' puppies and kittens.

"Wales is the centre of dog breeding in the UK, many of which are bred under poor existing standards, so we welcome the law which mandates anyone who commercially sells an animal has to meet minimum welfare standards.

" We also welcome the commitment to ban third party selling of puppies and kittens but are concerned the lessons on this ban in England have not been learnt and unscrupulous dealers could continue to operate.

Mid and West Wales Senedd member, Eluned Morgan, said:"We look forward to working with the Welsh Government, Members of the Senedd and local authorities ahead of and after the vote on this new law. It is expected to come into force in September, in what will be the latest step in what must be a wide-ranging and holistic journey in improving the welfare of puppies and kittens in Wales.”

“I’m delighted that Lesley Griffiths has given the go ahead for the introduction of this important legislation. I’ve been campaigning on this issue for a long time and one that has a great deal of support in Pembrokeshire.

Ms Morgan, who is also minister for international relations and the Welsh language, added: “Improving animal welfare regulations is an important milestone.

"Our legislation will ensure that we can make further steps in future to protect puppies and kittens and the public from those who seek to breed and transport animals in terrible conditions. There are many dogs and cats looking for their forever homes right now.

"Please avoid the temptation to shop and instead look to adopt from reputable rescue homes operating locally.”

More information on the RSPCA's efforts to improve puppy welfare - including the new #ForPupsSake campaign to stop puppy imports - can be found on the charity's website.