Welsh Liberal Democrats and Independent councillors have tabled a motion for debate by Swansea Council on Thursday, calling on the authority to support moves for the Welsh Government to introduce a law in Wales to ban and outlaw third party puppy sales and farming. A slightly amended motion from that published in the council agenda will also be backed by the ruling Labour group.
Lucy’s Law is named after a breeding dog who was rescued from a puppy farm. It calls for an immediate ban on the sale of puppies by pet shops and other third-party commercial breeders. This refers to sales for profit as part of a business, and targets those people who did not breed the dogs but act as ‘middlemen’ between the breeders and the buying public.
Commenting on the motion, which he will be proposing, Councillor Peter Black said: “The sale of puppies through commercial third-party dealers both sustains and is dependent on the existence of puppy farms, where puppies are bred for maximum profit and with minimal regard for animal welfare. Although very few high street pet shops sell puppies these days, the third party trade remains significant with dealers operating from a diverse array of premises, including private homes and puppy superstores.
“Puppy farming is effectively the battery farming of dogs. Animals are often kept in appalling conditions behind the doors of sheds, barns, caravans, and any number of inappropriate buildings across Wales. The dogs are treated like livestock rather than the domestic companion animals they are. They are often afforded less respect than the sheep, cattle or pigs on those same farms.
“Puppies that are not sold are often killed by hitting them over the head or drowning them. Some have been sold to laboratories for experimentation, others end up in dog fighting rings. The indiscriminate breeding of dogs has led to an overpopulation crisis in the UK, with more dogs being surrendered to pounds and rescues than ever before.
“Licensing these breeders has not worked. Local councils do not have the resources to check on the welfare of every animal and prevent harm from occurring to them. Stress, increased risk of disease, poor breeding practises and irresponsible selling tactics have all taken their toll. The Welsh Government is looking at introducing Lucy’s Law in Wales, I hope that by getting Swansea Council behind that initiative we will be able to add to the pressure for them to do so quickly.’
Note for Editors: The amended motion that will be considered by Council on Thursday and will be supported by Welsh Liberal Democrats, Independent and Labour Councillors is as follows:
Council notes that Swansea is known to be a dog loving city and many of our residents pay large sums of money for the puppy of their choice, sometimes thousands of pounds.
This love of dogs is being abused by illegal puppy farm owners who keep breeding dogs in very poor conditions. They also produce puppies who are in poor health, and are taken from their mothers too early, often causing the dog to have problems socialising.
These puppies cost their new owners large sums in vets bills but in many cases, this still ends in the puppy dying or being unmanageable. Many of these puppies are taken in by local charitable organisations to try and re-home them.
Lucy was one of these breeding dogs who was rescued from a puppy farm and Lucy’s Law is a campaign to ban the third-party sales of puppies to help stop this.
Council further notes that areas in West Wales have an increasing number of illegal puppy farms using third parties to sell the puppies and that these dogs are sold in Swansea or to residents of Swansea.
The UK Government have agreed to ban third party sales of puppies in England and a number of Assembly Members are asking the Welsh Government to follow suit.
Council believes that without Lucy’s Law, illegal puppy farms breeding dogs and their puppies will continue to languish behind closed doors in Wales, causing animals to suffer at the hands of people who put profit before animal welfare.
This council resolves to:
Add its support to the Lucy’s Law National Campaign to ban and outlaw third party puppy sales and farming.
Add its name to the growing list of supporting organisations and will proactively highlight the campaign to our residents across the County.
Ask the Leader of Swansea Council to write to the First Minister of Wales, the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs and to all AMs representing the Swansea area, expressing the view of members of this council that there should be urgent action to ban the third-party sales of puppies.