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‘Lucy’s Law’ to become law in Scotland Published Date: 07/02/2021

Changes to the Animals and Wildlife (Penalties, Protections and Powers) (Scotland) Act will introduce ‘Lucy’s Law in Scotland to end the third party selling of dogs and cats under the age of six months.

The Animals and Wildlife (Penalties, Protections and Powers) (Scotland) Bill was introduced in the Scottish Parliament on 30 September.

The Scottish Government’s website states that: “The Bill provides further protections to animals and wildlife in Scotland.  It amends the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006, several pieces of wildlife legislation and the Animal Health Act 1981 to address concerns about current penalties, enforcement powers and the way this legislation operates in practice. The Bill does not create any new offences.”

The Bill, due to come into force from 1 March 2021, will, amongst other things:

  • Make it illegal to intentionally kill, injure or take mountain hares at any time unless a licence is obtained; and
  • Introduce a new licensing requirements for those breeding puppies, kittens or infant rabbits, as well as introducing ‘Lucy’s Law to end the third party selling of dogs and cats in Scotland under the age of six months.

Natural Environment Minister Ben Macpherson said:

“Protecting Scotland’s wild animals in their natural environment is a key priority for this Scottish Government. Mountain hares are an iconic Scottish species and it is right that we protect them.

“Through the Animals and Wildlife Act 2020, we are taking action to safeguard the welfare of animals in Scotland and preserve our precious natural heritage for future generations to come.”

Donald Fraser, NatureScot’s Head of Wildlife Management said:

“Mountain hares – our only native hare – are an important and valued species in the Scottish hills. This increased protection will help ensure healthy populations of mountain hares can be found and enjoyed in the mountains, while giving some recourse when there is a need to prevent damage being caused to saplings or sensitive habitats. We are also working with several partner organisations to continue to improve our understanding of mountain hare populations across Scotland, along with other work to support their conservation status.”

The new licensing arrangement will be overseen by NatureScot.