Puppy and kitten pet shop sales could be banned in Wales

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The sale of puppies and kittens through pet shops would be banned in Wales under plans being put out to consultation.

Wales' Rural Affairs Minister Lesley Griffiths said there was clear evidence such sales can contribute to an increase risk of disease.

The move would mean buyers would have to deal directly with a breeder or a re-homing centre.

People have until 17 May to give their views on the ban.

The UK government has consulted on a similar ban in England - dubbed Lucy's Law, named after a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel rescued from a puppy farm.

Lucy, who had been kept in a cage most of her life, had a curved spine, bald patches and epilepsy after years of mistreatment.

Ms Griffiths said: "There is clear evidence that the sale of puppies and kittens via third parties has the potential to contribute to an increased risk of disease and a lack of socialisation and habituation for the puppies and kittens, compared to when people buy directly from the breeder.

"The vast majority of those buying a new puppy or kitten do so with the best of intentions.

"However, it is not always immediately apparent to the buyer where their new pet originated, or in what conditions it was raised. This consultation is an opportunity to gather as much information as possible to enable us to make lasting improvements to the welfare of puppies and kittens bred in Wales."

She said banning commercial third-party sales "may only be one aspect of this".

'Long overdue'

The Dogs Trust backed the ban - the charity said it would like to see "a package of measures to ensure its success" including "harsher penalties for unscrupulous breeders".

Welsh Conservative South Wales Central AM Andrew Davies said the announcement was a "long overdue victory" for the Lucy's Law campaign.

"Regrettably, Wales is widely acknowledged as the puppy farming hub of the United Kingdom, and this has become a shameful stain on our great nation of animal lovers," he said.

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