Lucy’s Law, or more commonly seen as #LucysLaw, is named for Lucy the Rescue Cavalier. Lucy was rescued from the life of a UK puppy farm breeder at the age of 5, in March 2013. According to her website (written in Lucy’s voice),
“As a result of years of neglect I had discoloured fur on my legs from the urine and faeces I had been kept in. My fur and skin had a burnt odour to them which was a result of the ammonia in the urine burning my skin.
“In addition, I suffered with bald patches to my fur, fused hips, and an extremely arched back, to the extent my back feet nearly touched my front!. I was very underweight, weighing in at a tiny 3.5 kg when I was rescued, less than half of what most Cavaliers generally weigh.
“For a long time I was scared of doorways and even to this day, don’t like to be locked in a room or left on my own. I eat every meal like it might be my last and when someone goes to pick me up sometimes I still cower, I have to remind myself that not every human is going to treat me badly.”
However, Lucy also adapted quickly surrounded by love in her forever home, and became “the happiest dog you’ll ever meet.” Lucy’s mom, Lisa Garner wrote.
Lisa began fighting for the rights of puppy mill dogs in the UK, and Lucy fast became the poster child for the fight. Sadly Lucy passed away in December of 2016 but not before she made a considerable impression on animal welfare campaigns, stars, and government officials.
In 2014, Lucy the Rescue Cavalier was awarded a ‘Heroic Hound’ award at The National Pet Show for overcoming adversity & raising awareness. Dogs Today magazine awarded her a Hero award at Dogfest 2016, also for her work in raising awareness about puppy farming. In 2016, Lucy and her mom, Lisa Garner, were floored and thrilled when she won Daily Mirror’s Animal Hero Awards – ‘Rescue Animal Of The Year’ 2016.
Shortly after Lucy passed, Lisa rescued another dog, Plum Pudding, who now carries on the fight for her sister Lucy.
According to the C.A.R.I.A.D (Care and Respect Includes All Dogs) Campaign, “Lucy’s Law was launched in December 2017 at a reception hosted by vet and campaigner, Marc Abraham, of Pup Aid, and supported by APDAWG, the All Party Parliamentary Group for dog welfare, chaired by Dr. Lisa Cameron MP.
Lucy’s Law has been championed by the Daily Mirror, and has
received significant attention and support, from MPs across all
parties, from the press, and in social media.”
Lucy’s Law calls for the ban on third-party sales of puppies and to make it illegal to sell puppies without the mother present. The ban will make it incredibly difficult for the puppy mill industry to continue as most farms rely on these third-party sales to hide the atrocious conditions in which these dogs are born and live.
According to the Daily Mirror, “The call for a ban on third-party puppy sales has the backing of the RSPCA, while the Kennel Club recently stated: ‘Third-party selling is effectively puppy dealing. We believe that legitimising third-party sales contributes to the increasing problem of puppy farming and buyers not knowing where to get a well-bred puppy.'”
However, the UK government is considering more lenient restrictions despite acknowledging both the research and the problem.
The C.A.R.I.A.D. Campaign site states, “The Government rejected the recommendation, referring to lack of clarity over enforcement and stating it supported “robust licensing” as an alternative solution. However, the Government also reiterated the importance of prospective buyers seeing puppies interacting with their mother which seems to conflict with continuing permission for commercial third-party dealers to sell puppies, where the mother is not present.
“Instead of a ban on these third-party sales, the Government, at the moment, prefers the idea of continuing to license them. This means that anyone in the business of selling pet dogs would require a license, as is currently the case. Licensing is based upon the assumption that animal welfare needs can be met, and that the regime will be able to prevent harm from occurring.”
In reality, a licensing regulation would put most of the responsibility of detection on the public and would likely create stretched resources unable to investigate every case of potential unlicensed puppy sales.
We have seen the impacts of licensing regulations in various states and counties throughout the United States, very few of these have had much effect if any.
Support for Lucy’s Law has been rushing in from across the world. Between the tweets of photos of pets holding signs that say I Support #LucysLaw, to the number of people who have written the Daily Mirror with pictures of their pets, stories, comments, and support. (Callie is in this list of supporters!)
Lucy’s Law could be the first step in breaking apart the commercial dog breeding industry in the United Kingdom. The legislation could also be the building block for other countries to enact similar laws, protecting their dogs as well.
Please, if you haven’t, take the time to write the Daily Mirror (using their form at the bottom of the page) in support of Lucy’s Law. Tweet if you have Twitter. If you are in the UK, write your local MP. If you are elsewhere, write your representatives, over and over and over!
The more people fighting for it, the louder we get!
In South Australia, there have been recent changes to their dog and cat welfare policies. The government has put new stringent licensing systems in place which also give officials the ability to take photographs, seize evidence, and require people to provide their name and information without jumping through so many hoops. Perhaps this will be an example of whether or not licensing policies help puppy mill dogs.