The law came into place today (6 April), and will mean that puppies and kittens can no longer be sold in England by a third party seller unless they have bred the animal themselves.
Those looking to buy or adopt a puppy under six months must now deal directly with the breeder or an animal rehoming centre.
Holly Conway, head of public affairs at the Kennel Club, said: “We are delighted that Lucy’s Law has been introduced today, 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.”
She added: “We hope Lucy’s Law will help bring an end to this and that, as well as improving welfare conditions for puppies, it will also encourage anyone thinking of getting a puppy to really do their research, find a responsible breeder and bring home a happy, healthy new addition to the family.”
The legislation comes as new figures from the Kennel Club show a “surge” in interest for purchasing puppies during the coronavirus pandemic.
Searches for new puppies via the Kennel Club’s ‘Find a Puppy’ tool increased by 53% from February to March, with the “biggest spike” seen in the week leading up to the national lockdown.
Between 16 March and 23 March, searches were up 37% compared to the week prior, and up 84% compared to the same week in 2019.