Almost half of dog owners are spending more on vets’ fees than they had accounted for, as more than one in four people (27 percent) say that they suspect that their puppy came from a cruel puppy farm. The rising cost of owning a puppy comes as people opt to buy ‘mail order pups’ online or from newspaper ads, not realising that many pups being sold through these routes have been illegally smuggled from abroad.
Kennel Club research ahead of its Eukanuba Discover Dogs event, taking place at ExCel Exhibition Centre on 17 and 18 October, shows that a shocking one in ten people bought a ‘mail order pup’ from the internet online or from a newspaper advert, without seeing it first. This is a classic sign that the puppy has come from a puppy farm, as the breeder does not want buyers to see the state of the pup or the conditions it was raised in.
Many of these pups will go on to develop diseases and conditions common in puppy farmed pups. Almost one fifth of pups purchased online, without being seen by their new owner first, ended up with serious gastro intestinal problems (19 percent), 15 percent with the potentially deadly parvovirus and one in ten developed kennel cough. A further 15 percent of people continue to buy their puppies from pet shops and almost one in five of these pups end up with the potentially deadly parvovirus (18 percent).
The Kennel Club is increasingly concerned about puppy farmers abroad supplying dealers with puppies to sell onto the public. Defra figures indicate that there was a 61 percent increase in pups coming into the UK from abroad in the first year since the controls were relaxed under changes to the Pet Travel Scheme in 2012, and that does not account for the undeclared dogs that are being smuggled illegally into the country.
As part of its Puppy Awareness Week the Kennel Club is reminding people to always see the puppy’s breeding environment and to always see the pup interacting with its mother. The Kennel Club advises people to either go to a rescue centre or buy a puppy from a Kennel Club Assured Breeder, who are inspected by the Kennel Club and have to follow rules for the responsible breeding of their pups. People can find out more about buying a dog from a responsible breeder or rescue home, and choosing the right breed for them at Eukanuba Discover Dogs.
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: “Sadly, it is all too easy for puppy buyers to be duped by irresponsible breeders, whose puppies end up with severe health and behavioural problems because of the terrible start they have had in life.
“It is absolutely shocking that people are still buying from pet shops or from online and newspaper adverts without seeing the pup they are buying first. There is nothing wrong with sourcing a puppy online, so long as adverts on the website comply with the Pet Advertising Advisory Group’s minimum standards for advertising pets, but you must then meet the breeder and the pup and ensure they are doing the right things. Unless people insist on seeing mum and seeing the home environment then unsuspecting puppy buyers will continue to buy puppies that will end up with health and behavioural problems that will cost them dearly, both financially and emotionally. It is quite likely that the pups they are buying will have been brought into the country illegally or raised on puppy farms in the UK.
“We urge people to buy from a Kennel Club Assured Breeder, where they can be sure that the breeder and their premises have been inspected by the Kennel Club and found to be complying with our rules for responsible dog breeding. We also hope to see those thinking of buying a puppy at our Discover Dogs event, which is not only a great family event and a chance to meet more than 200 breeds under one roof, but is full of information that will help people give their pup the best start in life.”
The Kennel Club research has shown that more than a third of people do not see the pup interacting with its mum (36 percent), nearly two thirds (61 percent) do not see the pup’s breeding environment, almost three quarters (72 percent) do not see a contract of sale and more than two thirds (70 percent) do not receive health test certificates to show the parents have been health tested before being bred from.
The research also shows that 12 percent still buy pets as presents and 7 percent as a spur of the moment decision and one in five buy a puppy because of the way it looks. Puppy buyers are cautioned to do their research before they buy to ensure that the breed is the right fit for their lifestyle and that the breeder is responsible.
To find out more about the Discover Dogs event visit www.discoverdogs.org.uk
Survey of 2003 dog owners carried out for the Kennel Club by Censuswide, in August 2015