Searches between 16 and 23 March were up 37% compared with the previous week and up 84% on the same week last year. The top three most searched-for breeds were labradors, cocker spaniels and golden retrievers, it said.
Legislation known as “Lucy’s law ” banning the sale of puppies and kittens from third-party sellers came into effect overnight.
The Kennel Club said it hoped that as well as improving welfare conditions, the new rules would encourage people thinking of getting a puppy to do their research and find a responsible breeder.
Holly Conway, the head of public affairs at the Kennel Club, said: “While we would underline that now isn’t the right time to bring home a puppy, or make an impulsive decision to get a pet, these [search] figures could be a sign of more people looking to find a breeder directly in the future, which is extremely positive and what Lucy’s law aims to impose.
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“Preventing suffering caused by quick, careless decisions and deceptive, profit-hungry puppy farmers is what Lucy’s law is all about. The more time you spend, the more aware you will be, and the much more likely you are to bring home a happy, healthy puppy from a responsible, caring breeder – rather than fuelling untold suffering and heartache as a result of third-party sellers hiding horrific breeding conditions.”
Under the new legislation, puppies and kittens can no longer be sold in England by a third party – such as a pet shop or dealer – but only those who have bred the animal. It means that buyers planning to buy or adopt an animal younger than six months old must deal directly with the breeder or an animal rehoming centre. The law is named after a cavalier King Charles spaniel called Lucy who died in 2016 after being kept in poor conditions on a puppy farm.