(Kennel Club Press Release) More than one in three dog owners may have been duped into buying a puppy farmed dog, many of which end up needing thousands of pounds of veterinary and behavioural treatment, according to Kennel Club research.
It is thought that the internet and demand for designer crossbreeds is fuelling the trade.
Puppy farming is a cruel industry where puppies are bred from overused breeding bitches, without any regard for their health or wellbeing.
More than a third of puppy buyers have bought their puppy from the internet, a pet shop or a newspaper advert; outlets often used for selling puppy farmed puppies.
Furthermore, as an additional sign that this trade is growing, almost half of puppy buyers did not see their puppy in its breeding environment.
Puppy farmers commonly sell their puppies through pet shops or over the internet so that people will not see the horrific conditions the pups are bred in.
The research found that 14 percent bought in pet shops, 10 percent picked their dog up from a motorway service station or other neutral location and 2 percent received a ‘mail order pup’ delivered straight to their door.
The health of these pups is likely to suffer as not only can they get skin conditions and terrible diseases like parvovirus as a result of the awful conditions, but to save money puppy farmers will not health test their dogs.
More than half of puppy buyers did not receive a contract of sale or see relevant health test certificates for the puppy’s parents, which indicate how healthy the pup is likely to be.
Marc Abraham, Kennel Club veterinary advisor and narrator of the STOP Puppy Farming film, said: “There is now an alarming trend which is seeing breeders view dogs just as commodities without any regard for their rights as living creatures.
“People wouldn’t buy from a car from a dodgy dealer, offering no MOT or service documents, but sadly people don’t ask for the similar assurances from a dog breeder. These pups will then most likely suffer terrible health and behavioural problems further down the line.”
There is concern that the trend for expensive designer crossbreeds and fashionable purebred dogs, is fuelling the trade in a market that is largely unregulated.
Whilst there is a lot of education in place for those who buy pedigree dogs registered with the Kennel Club and regulations that members of the Kennel Club Assured Breeder Scheme are obliged to fulfil, those who breed crossbreeds and non Kennel Club registered dogs are more likely to cut corners and less likely to follow responsible steps, such as health testing.
The Kennel Club is campaigning for tougher legislation to clamp down on puppy farmers, which would see all breeders having to follow standards similar to those followed by members of the Kennel Club Assured Breeder Scheme; the only scheme in the UK which sets standards for and monitors dog breeders and whose breeders provide a contract of sale.
In the meantime it is urging puppy buyers to only buy from one of around 8,000 Kennel Club Assured Breeders across the UK.
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: “All too often, people walk blindly into buying a puppy without being aware of all the information available to them.
“Those people who buy pedigree dogs tend to use the information that the Kennel Club provides, such as that available via the Kennel Club’s Puppy Buying Guide app, which includes checking if their breeder is following responsible steps such as health testing.
“Because the industry lacks virtually any regulation, we urge people to go to a Kennel Club Assured Breeder since they follow all of the steps that we expect of the most reputable breeders and agree to have their premises checked by a Kennel Club inspector.
“Outside of this, all we can rely on is the local authority licensing system for those that breed large numbers of litters, and the Kennel Club will not register the pups of breeders without this licence. However, the licensing system is not 100% effective, which is why people should always report a suspected puppy farmer.”