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Issue:- 5 September 2013


THE Kennel Club's Puppy Awareness Week research shows that as many as 1 in 3 nationally, and just over 1 in 3 in the North West, may have bought from a puppy farm after sourcing their puppy from the internet, social media, pet shops or newspaper ads; all outlets that are often used by puppy farmers. Puppy farmers breed dogs purely for profit, without taking any of the responsible steps that they should to protect the breeding dogs' and puppies' health and welfare.

The research found that nationally:-

►  33% of people who bought their puppy online, over social media or in pet shops failed to experience 'overall good health'.

►  20% of puppies bought via social media or the internet die before 6 months old.

►  12% of puppies bought online or on social media end up with serious health problems that require expensive on going veterinary treatment from a young age.

►  94% of puppies bought direct from a breeder were reported as having good overall health.

There is currently very little regulation over dog breeders in the country so the Kennel Club established the Kennel Club Assured Breeder Scheme in 2004, which now has UKAS recognition, to ensure that its members always follow responsible steps when breeding and selling puppies. However, the research has revealed that too many people in the North West are still going to unscrupulous breeders with:-

►  42% of people failing to see the puppy with its mum (36% nationally)

►  58% not seeing the breeding environment (53% nationally)

►  70% receive no contract of sale (69% nationally)

►  83% did not see any relevant health certificates for the puppy's parents, which indicate the likely health of the puppy (70% nationally).

These are all steps that Kennel Club Assured Breeders must take.

Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said:- "A large number of people in the North West are sourcing their puppies online and in pet shops. Whilst there is nothing wrong with initially finding a puppy online, it is essential to then see the breeder and ensure that they are doing all of the right things. This research clearly shows that too many people in the region are failing to do this, and the consequences can be seen in the shocking numbers of puppies that are becoming sick or dying. We have an extremely serious consumer protection and puppy welfare crisis on our hands. We urge people to always buy a puppy from a member of the Kennel Club Assured Breeder Scheme, who are the only breeders in the country whose membership is based upon their ability to show that the health and welfare of their pups comes first and foremost."

Worryingly, the research reveals that the problem is likely to get worse as mail order pups bought over the internet are the 2nd most common way for the younger generation of 18 to 24 year olds to buy a puppy (31% buy in this way nationally), enabling unscrupulous breeders to take advantage of the anonymity that the internet provides.

The research also found that the owners of cross and mixed breeds are much less likely to see the puppy with the mum and where it was born than the owners of purebred dogs, with half not seeing the mum (compared to a 3rd of purebred owners) and 72% not seeing its home environment, leading to concern that unscrupulous breeders are cashing in on the fashion for dogs such as the Labradoodle and the Puggle.

Bill Lambert, Kennel Club Assured Breeder Scheme Manager, said:- "Sadly, if the 'buy it now' culture persists then this horrific situation will only get worse. There is nothing wrong with sourcing a puppy online but people need to make themselves aware of what they should then expect from the breeder. You should not buy a car without getting its service history and seeing it at its registered address, so you certainly should not to buying a pup if you have not seen where it was bred or the correct paperwork and health certificates for it. People should never buy directly from third parties such as the internet, pet shops, or from puppy dealers, where you cannot possibly know how or where the puppy was raised."

The Kennel Club has launched an online video and has a Find A Puppy app, to show the do's and don'ts of buying a puppy.

View the video at:-

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