Christmas is coming, as so are hordes of poorly bred puppies to be sold to unsuspecting members of the public by unscrupulous sellers and breeders. After an increase in puppy buying during lockdown, with prices more than doubling, a 400 per cent surge in searches for ‘buy a puppy’ is expected from mid-November.
This has led to the UK’s Chief Vet raising concerns about the risk posed by deceitful low-welfare sellers who breed and keep animals in poor conditions to take advantage of this spike in prices.
Defra has released the video ‘The 12 Days of Petfished’, telling the story of a young puppy whose owners unwittingly purchase him from a deceitful seller – and the consequences that ensue.
Chief Veterinary Officer Christine Middlemiss said, “After a difficult year and with many of us spending more time at home, many people may be considering getting a new puppy or kitten.
“However, the lead up to Christmas is a prominent time for unscrupulous sellers to take advantage of those looking to buy a new pet. That is why we are advising people to remain vigilant and to always thoroughly research sellers before getting in touch.”
“Potential buyers should also note that Christmas might not be the best time to get a pet as it can be noisy and chaotic, which isn’t the best environment to settle in a new animal.”
More information on what to do before contacting a seller and what to ask when you do get in touch can be found at getyourpetsafely.gov.uk.
RSPCA chief executive Chris Sherwood added,“While the idea of a new pet joining your family around the tree may be a wonderful festive scene, the truth behind your Christmas puppy could be much darker.
“Dogs used in the underground puppy trade lead miserable lives in horrific conditions and their puppies often have lifelong health and behavioural problems due to their poor start.
“We’re supporting the Petfished campaign to urge prospective buyers to always research the seller first. It is always much better to wait for the right dog than to rush into buying – and unwittingly support cruelty. If concerned, walk away from the seller and contact the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999.”