Rogue Breeders & Online Puppy Scams Fool Millions

(KC Release) The Kennel Club helps people become ‘puppy aware’

• Almost a quarter of people got scammed via ads on online sites such as Gumtree, after paying for a puppy they never receive
• Almost one in five people may have bought a puppy from a puppy farm
• Millions end up with huge vets bills to pay for sick puppy-farmed pups
• Shock home delivery of pups grows, hiding horrific conditions pups are raised in

New research by the Kennel Club shows the urgent need for people to buy a dog from a reputable source, as one in five dog owners (1.2 million people) may have bought a puppy farmed dog, which often end up with health and behavioural issues due to the terrible conditions in which they are raised, and a shocking quarter of those buying from pet shops or online are scammed.

Through its Puppy Awareness Week (PAW), from 8th – 15th September, the Kennel Club is helping people to find a puppy from a responsible breeder or rescue home and has worked with to produce three online films to guide people through the process.

Puppy farming is a poorly regulated and often cruel industry where puppies are bred in dirty, cramped conditions, from overused breeding bitches, without any regard for the health or wellbeing of the puppy or mother. Research conducted by the Kennel Club shows that 20 percent of people have bought a puppy either from the internet, a pet shop or a newspaper advert, all outlets that can be used to sell puppy-farmed puppies.

Delivering puppies direct to people’s doors or selling them from motorway service stations or friend’s houses, is a trick used by puppy farmers, so that the conditions that the pups and breeding bitches are kept in are never revealed.

(Above) Cavalier King Charles Spaniel pup (pic thanks to Oscar’s Law)

A shocking 35 percent of people buying a puppy online or in pet shops claim that their mail order puppy was delivered straight to their door, without them seeing the breeding environment, and 12 percent of puppy buyers overall claim that this was the case. A third of all puppy buyers say they picked their pup up from a neutral location such as motorway service station.

Responsible breeders will always show a pup with its mum and in its breeding environment, so that people can see how it is likely to turn out, and the conditions in which the pup was raised.

However, three in ten puppy buyers claim not to have seen their puppy with its mum, rising to 37 percent amongst those buying puppies from newspapers adverts, online and in pet shops. 31 percent say that they didn’t see the puppy in its breeding environment, rising to 40 percent amongst those buying from newspaper ads, pet shops and online.

As the number of people buying puppies on online sites, such as Gumtree, and in pet shops rises so too does the number of scams involving the sale of puppies that don’t actually exist.

Of those who have bought a puppy online or in a pet shop 25 percent, say that they paid money for a puppy that they never received. This is compared to 6 percent of all puppy buyers who say they were scammed.

Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: “A shocking number of people treat buying a puppy the way they would if they were buying a car or a fridge – and have no idea what to ask to ensure they get a healthy, happy puppy – whether pedigree or cross breed. As a result puppy farmers are able trade on selling ‘fashionable’ cross breeds or pedigree pups with no questions asked.

“Buying a puppy online means that buyers have no idea of the often appalling conditions the puppies were born into. Sadly, these puppies often grow up with health and behavioural problems, which can cost thousands of pounds to treat or which lead to heartbreak if the problems cannot be overcome.”

Marc Abraham, celebrity vet and organiser of the puppy farming awareness event Pup Aid, which takes place in Primrose Hill on 8th September, said: “There are very few laws governing breeders and the sale of pups in this country.

“Selling pups on the internet or in pet shops and delivering them direct to your door is not illegal, but it rarely leads to a happy outcome because people are often scammed or end up with a poorly pup from a puppy farm.

“Only breeders who are part of the Kennel Club Assured Breeder Scheme follow a code of practice – so it makes sense to approach an Assured Breeder or recognised rescue home. The golden rule to remember is: see the puppy with its mum, in its home environment.”

The fashion for designer cross breeds, such as the Labradoodle, has fuelled the rogue puppy trade, as owners of mixed and cross breeds are the most likely to have bought online and from pet shops and newspaper ads (20 percent) and least likely to have seen the puppy with its mum in its home environment.

The research showed that 35 percent of people are now buying designer cross breeds and 49 percent have bought these dogs in the last three years.

Caroline Kisko added: “Designer cross breeds are all the rage and too many people want one instantly, with minimum hassle or questions asked. Puppy farmers and scam artists cash in on this. We urge potential puppy buyers to steer well clear of any breeder or outlet that does not assess your suitability as a dog owner, and doesn’t give you every opportunity to vet their suitability as a breeder.”

The Kennel Club warns that people should:

> Always see the puppy with its mother, in its home environment
> Always buy from a Kennel Club Assured Breeder or rescue home
> Ask to see relevant health test certificates for the puppy’s parents
> Beware the bargain. This probably means corners were cut elsewhere!

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