Ards and North Down Borough Council has passed a Green Party NI motion this week calling for the introduction of “Lucy’s Law” to improve the regulation of dog breeding in Northern Ireland. Last week, Belfast City Council passed a similar motion brought by Green Councillors.
Holywood and Clandeboye Green Party Councillor Lauren Kendall, who proposed the motion, said: “Lucy’s Law will make it illegal to sell puppies and kittens younger than six months through a third-party seller, such as a pet shop or a commercial dealer. England, Scotland and Wales have already enacted this law, but we are still lagging behind in Northern Ireland.
“We cannot stand by whilst large numbers of puppies kept in filthy, unsanitary, squalid conditions. Estimates suggest that over 37,000 puppies are smuggled out of Northern Ireland to GB every year. Puppy prices skyrocketed during the pandemic, which means that unscrupulous breeders will be making a fortune from misfortune.
“Budgets are stretched, and councils needs more resources in order to tackle this extremely lucrative industry for criminals who will try any and all avenues to evade statutory bodies. Our councils are responsible for licencing and regulating registered dog breeding establishments. But councils have insufficient powers and resources to regulate this in the way that is required to ensure animal welfare is protected.
“Minister Poots must do his duty to protect animals and introduce laws and regulations to give councils the powers to set licence fees set at an appropriate level. This will act as a deterrent to puppy farming and provide councils with adequate resourcing to monitor and enforce animal welfare effectively.
“We all have a role in stopping cruelty wherever possible. If you are going to get a dog this Christmas, go to your local adoption centre, as there are many throughout Northern Ireland with thousands of pups that deserve a loving home.”