Having campaigned in unequivocal support of their introduction, the Member of the Welsh Parliament for Aberconwy – Janet Finch-Saunders MS/AS – has spoken of her relief that the regulations on the sale of third-party puppy and kittens have now come into effect. Often referred to as Lucy’s Law, a ban on third-party sales had previously come into effect in England and Scotland during 2020. The Welsh regulations were originally tabled in January but were withdrawn due to a drafting error.
Now, Mrs Finch-Saunders has urged for clarity from the Welsh Government with regards to its plans to introduce a similar policy to the UK Government’s pet theft offence announcement. Theft of a pet is currently treated as a loss of an owner's property, with this a new law set to more adequately acknowledge the emotional distress it can cause.
Janet has submitted the following Written Question:
Following the UK Government’s announcement that it will make pet theft a specific offence in England, will the Minister confirm whether the Welsh Government plans to introduce a similar policy in Wales?
Underlining the need for clarity, Janet said:
“Whilst I have been greatly concerned by the delay posed by the need to twice lay these regulations, their introduction is a significant and positive step in the right direction for animal welfare in Wales. These regulations outline that we can only purchase pets where they were bred, or from a rescue or rehoming centre, to ensure welfare standards remain high.
“However, I continue to be concerned about the presence of suspicious adverts for pets online and will be pushing Welsh Ministers to undertake conversations with their counterparts in the UK Government to ensure that social media networks are playing their role in enforcing lawful sales.
“The delay in the introduction of a Welsh version of Lucy’s Law should be a moment of national reflection as to how effective our legislative process is. We should be doing more to create a better Wales more quickly. This is why the public deserve urgent clarity as to what steps the Welsh Government is taking to remain in lockstep with the UK Government on the issue of pet abduction.
“Constituents from across Aberconwy tell me that they remain greatly concerned about their well-being when taking their pets for a walk. One drive behind the Covid-19 increase in snatching incidents is that demand for puppies seems to outstrip supply. We now need Cardiff Bay to reflect this concern in its actions and ensure that this law can be enforced in Wales.”
Photo: Janet Finch-Saunders MS/AS at a Dog's Trust Event