In a welcome animal rights victory, landmark legislation prohibiting the third-party sale of puppies and kittens for profit has become law in England, the UK government announced.

Lucy’s Law — named after a cavalier King Charles spaniel who was born in a Welsh puppy farm in 2008 and callously bred to produce multiple puppy litters — is designed to stop illegal puppy farming and ban third-party dealers, making all dog and cat breeders accountable for the welfare of the animals in their care.

People who want to add a puppy or kitten to their family will now have to acquire one directly from a licensed breeder or adopt from a rescue center. Traders who sell these animals without a licence can face up to six months in prison, or an unlimited fine.

The new legislation came into effect following a long campaign headed by veterinarian and animal welfare advocate Marc Abraham, which was supported by high-profile figures such as Brian May, Ricky Gervais and Peter Egan.

“I’m incredibly proud to have led the 10-year campaign to ban cruel puppy and kitten dealers and to get this essential Lucy’s Law legislation over the line,” said Abraham, who is also the founder of Pup Aid. “I’d like to give a huge thanks to the UK Government for passing this law, as well as every animal-loving parliamentarian, celebrity, welfare organization, and member of the public that supported us.”

“Lucy was an incredibly brave dog,” he continued, “and it’s right that her memory is honoured with such an important piece of legislation to help end puppy farm cruelty; protecting breeding dogs just like her, as well as cats, their young, and also unsuspecting animal-lovers from the dangers of irresponsible breeding and cruel puppy and kitten dealers.”

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