The RSPCA is urging the public to ‘Adopt Don’t Shop’ this Adoptober, as figures reveal the number of people looking for puppies online during lockdown “soared by 650 per cent” while the import of dogs doubled.

RSPCA dog welfare expert Dr Samantha Gaines said, “It’s wonderful to see that so many people want to welcome dogs into their families and we’ve loved waving so many of our own dogs off into their forever homes. However, we are concerned that some families may not be considering the long-term commitment of taking on a dog and how they’ll care for their new pet post-lockdown.”

“We have lots of dogs waiting for their forever homes so please do consider getting a rescue dog”

RSPCA chief executive Chris Sherwood added, “We have seen a rise in people searching for dogs to adopt during lockdown, which is fantastic, but at the same time, there appears to be a rise in people looking to buy puppies. 

“We know that there are not enough puppies bred in the UK to meet the demands of those who want to buy them and, worryingly, there appears to be a surge in puppies coming in from outside the UK. The problem with this is that, although breeders from countries like Romania are licensed, we have no way of checking the conditions those animals are being kept in and we fear that sales like these could be fuelling cruel puppy farms as well as exposing puppies to long and stressful journeys.

“We are all used to being able to buy whatever we want when we want it but we’re urging people to thoroughly do their research before committing to getting any dog and to make sure they don’t get caught out by people acting illegally or irresponsibly. We have lots of dogs waiting for their forever homes so please do consider getting a rescue dog.”

Could you adopt Bandit?

A rescue dog still looking for a home is Bandit, the only dog from last year’s Adoptober rehoming drive to have failed to find a new home, who has been waiting 18 months for a new family. 

Bandit is a two-year-old lurcher with “bags of energy”, looking for an active home with owners who are experienced caring for big, boisterous and strong dogs. Could you offer him a fun-loving  home this Adoptober?

Chris added, “Although it is really tempting to buy a puppy, those from abroad may have been bred in poor conditions, leaving them with potentially serious medical and behavioural problems whereas adopting from somewhere like the RSPCA where staff have really got to know the dog, means you get the advice and support you need.

“If families would still prefer to buy a dog, we’re encouraging them to use The Puppy Contract. This is a free online tool that will help find responsible breeders and a happy, healthy dog.”

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