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Scrap the puppy trade

Many puppy traffickers are buying puppies ‘wholesale’ looking for the highest profit margin and are leaving a trail of sick and dead puppies behind them.

Together, we’ve been campaigning to stop puppies, who are often too young to be taken away from their mothers, being loaded into vans like cargo and travelling hundreds of miles to be sold on to unsuspecting owners.

Working together to achieve change for puppies 

Dogs on a pile of scrap metal © RSPCA

Over 100,000 people signed our petition calling for action to be taken to tackle the unscrupulous trade in puppies.

Together, we wanted to see an end to sales of puppies other than from the breeder or rescue organisations and all puppies being bred in an environment that gives them the best chance of having a happy, healthy life.

The good news is that the UK Government has announced that it will introduce a new licensing scheme for anyone breeding or selling more than three litters of puppies a year, and banning the sale of puppies younger than eight weeks old.

This will be a welcome step in the right direction if the standards are high enough and properly enforced, this should help those wanting to buy a puppy to distinguish between a responsible and a rogue breeder or seller. 

We'll be working with the government to ensure the licensing conditions are set at a high standard and will lobby for a ban on the selling of puppies by someone other than the person who bred them. Our campaign continues.

Thinking of buying a puppy? Don't get caught out

For peace of mind that your puppy has been bred responsibly, always use the Puppy Contract - developed to empower puppy buyers and help them avoid the problems that can arise from buying a puppy from an irresponsible breeder.

Spotting a puppy breeder

A responsible breeder will:

  • Spend time chatting to you on the phone and will arrange a time for you to visit to meet their puppies they will be happy to have more than one meeting to ensure you and the puppy are compatible.
  • Ask you just as many questions to make sure their puppy will be going to a good home.
  • Want you to meet the puppy’s mum and littermates - and let you choose the puppy that’s right for you.
  • Be happy to use the Puppy Contract.
  • Be licensed and will be happy to show you their licence number.

A responsible breeder won’t:

  • Rush you into parting with cash in exchange for a puppy
  • Try to fob you off by saying that the mother is at the vets, asleep or out for a walk. If mum isn’t there, then the puppy wasn’t bred there
  • Offer to deliver a puppy to you or meet you somewhere random like a car park

If anything seems suspicious, it means it is. Don't be caught out, be sure to take a look at more tips for spotting a puppy dealer.

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