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Advice for families getting a dog as puppy trade reports in Merseyside soar by 488%

THINKING of getting a puppy during the summer holidays? Be cautious if you're hoping to buy a dog instead of rescuing. The RSPCA is urging families thinking of getting a puppy over the summer holidays to consider adopting a rescue pet as new figures reveal that reports in Merseyside about puppy farms have soared by 488% in the last decade.

The UK's largest and oldest animal welfare charity is issuing advice to prospective dog owners as new figures, released on Thursday, 1 August 2019, reveal that puppy farms continue to be a growing problem; with a 390% increase in complaints across England.

RSPCA dog welfare expert Lisa Hens said:- "It is distressing that we are still seeing so many reports about puppy farms, but part of this increase is probably due to people being more savvy about what to look out for when getting a pet. We know there's a spike in people searching for puppies and buying dogs at the beginning of the School holidays but we'd urge families to carefully consider whether getting a dog is right for them. Dogs are a huge commitment and need lots of time and attention, even once summer is over and the kids are back at School. If you do have the time and money for a dog then we'd urge you to consider rescuing instead of buying a puppy. Not only will this give a rescue dog a chance at finding his forever home but it'll also save any potential heartache caused by unwittingly buying a dog from a puppy farm."

The warning comes as new figures reveal that in 2018 (2018) was the worst yet for complaints about the puppy trade in England to the RSPCA's 24-hour emergency hotline. The charity received 4,357 complaints in 2018; a 390% increase on 10 years ago (2008) when it took just 890 reports related to the underground industry. In Merseyside, the charity received 17 complaints in 2008 compared to 100 in 2018.

There has been a year on year increase; in these reports over the past decade as more and more unscrupulous breeders and dealers seek to cash in on a growing puppy market; where dogs of certain breeds can sell for hundreds or even thousands of pounds.

Lisa added:- "After the RSPCA campaigned for years, the Government in 2018 finally introduced tougher licensing regulations around the selling of animals; including breeding and selling dogs; which we hope will help crackdown on this multi million pound industry. The Government has also committed to a ban on the ⅓ party sales of puppies and kittens which, alongside tougher licensing conditions will also help to tackle puppy farms and dodgy dealers. However, we also need to educate the public to ensure that they only buy puppies from responsible breeders who prioritise the health and welfare of their dogs over profit."

Top tips for families buying a puppy this summer:-

► Do lots of research and make sure you can commit to a new dog before looking for your new family member.

► Adopt don't shop; visit your local centre to see if you can offer a rescue dog a home.

► Use The Puppy Contract; a guide to how to responsibly source a puppy which can help you find a happy, healthy dog.

► Always visit more than once and the see the mum and puppies interacting together. Be wary of any breeder who won't let you or pressures you into buying.

► If you're concerned about something you see at a breeder then walk away, do not buy the puppy and report your concerns to the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999, Police on 101 or your local Council.

There are lots of benefits to adopting a rescue dog from a reputable organisation. Giving a rescue pet a second chance is extremely rewarding, and all pets are fully assessed before being put up for rehoming so you can be sure that you will be matched to the right dog for you.

Puppies and dogs will also be fully vet checked, vaccinated, microchipped and often neutered so you needn't worry about the costs of all of these extras. They may have also had some basic training already in kennels and you will receive ongoing support and advice if needed, while RSPCA centres also offer 6 weeks of free pet insurance. To offer a rescue dog a new home or to donate by visit:- RSPCA.Org.UK.

Hugh Baird University Centre Graduate is a finalist for the 2019 Positive Awards

HUGH Baird University Centre Creative Make Up Design and Practice graduate, Andrew Manion, has won through to the final of the 2019 Positive Awards. Award winning Liverpool salon owner Andrew, has been nominated for the Happy Award for being a positive and inspiring role model within his field of work and the local community.  The Positive Awards recognise and celebrate the talented people and businesses that make every day a little bit happier. Nominations include:- life coaches, business mentors, holistic healers and inspirational individuals who have excelled in the face of adversity and trauma. Andrew returned to education in 2016 and juggled study with running his busy hair salon. He considers achieving his degree in Creative Make Up Design and Practice as 1 of his proudest achievements.

After discovering he had won through to the final, Andrew said:- "To be nominated for this award means so much to me personally. I have always considered myself a positive person and I am a big believer in the power of affirmation and positive thinking. "

When asked how he thought he inspired people, Andrew said:- "I think it's my drive, ambition and my desire to better myself and to support and assist those around me. Since I completed my degree, 3 of my salon's clients have gone back into education and they have all said I inspired them to take that 1st step back to education."

Course Leader for the Creative Make Up Design and Practice degree, Lucy McKeown, added:- "I am extremely proud of Andrew's Positive Award nomination. Andrew thoroughly deserves the nomination. He is a true inspiration and role model. All at the Hugh Baird University Centre wish Andrew the best of luck in the final."

The Creative Make Up Design and Practice Degree at the Hugh Baird University Centre is approved by the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan). For more information please visit:- HughBaird.AC.UK or call:- 0151 353 4444.

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