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East Belfast DUP MLA Robin Newton is proposing, via a Private Members’ Bill, the introduction of legislation based on Lucy’s Law as introduced in Westminster by Michael Gove MP and Defra.

The consultation document/survey is available on the Assembly website.

Robin Newton said,

“During the three years when the Northern Ireland Assembly was blocked from sitting by Sinn Fein, I watched Lucy’s Law being developed at Westminster. I’m planning for similar legalisation to be completed within this mandate in the Northern Ireland Assembly.

The legalisation is drafted to tackle the problem of third-party sales of puppies and kittens being bred by illegal and unscrupulous puppy farmers. The puppy farmers hide their breeding farms from public view and depend on agents to sell their pups which often have underlying health problems.

Within the damp and dark sheds, dogs are held for multiple breeding; until their breeding life is over. A few fortunate dogs may be rescued; the fate of the majority is to be got-rid-off by the heartless puppy farmers. Ex puppy farm dogs, having been kept in appalling conditions, have multiple physical and socialisation problems.

COVID-19 lockdowns have created huge demand for puppies and huge profits for the pitiless breeders. The PSNI has confirmed the scale of local and cross border puppy smuggling as well as pups being trafficked into GB being significant. It’s also thought to be linked to organised crime gangs.

I want to ensure when a family buy their puppy, they know who has bred the pup and it’s history; with follow-up contact for any puppy health problems. Puppy buyers should see the pup and mother dog at the birth place; not in a car-park or internet purchasing.

Educating the public on the dreadful levels of cruelty within the puppy breeding barns and spotting the tell-tale signs of the illegal puppy dealers is critical in tackling this cruel trade.

I believe Northern Ireland’s animal loving public, when made aware of this horribly cruel puppy breeding activity, will be supportive of my Bill.”