The Scottish SPCA has launched an assured breeder scheme after more than 150 puppies were seized from low-welfare farms in 2020.
The animal welfare charity has teamed up with Trading Standards Scotland in its ongoing efforts to tackle the illegal puppy trade.
Charity workers say due to an increase in public demand for puppies during the pandemic, many breeders have been taking advantage of the situation by putting profit over the welfare of the dogs.
In some cases, puppies have been taken from their mothers too early or were riddled with infectious diseases caught due to lack of vaccinations or the unsanitary conditions they were raised in. This led to many puppies dying in their new homes or new owners having to pay for expensive veterinary treatment.
Milo the puppy was in his new home in Lanarkshire for 24 hours before being rushed to the vet. The vet found that he had been taken from his mother too early and was only four weeks old despite the seller assuring the family he was eight weeks old.
The vet was also found that Milo was a border collie and not a Jack Russell as had been advertised on Gumtree. Milo passed away despite his owner doing everything they could to save him.
‘The pandemic and public demand for puppies has led to more reports to our animal helpline about unscrupulous dealers who want to make money fast with no regard for animal welfare.’Gilly Mendes Ferreira, Scottish SPCA head of education, policy and research
Head of education, policy and research, Gilly Mendes Ferreira said: “Milo is just one very sad example of hundreds and our thoughts are with his family and any family that has experienced something like this.
“Now, more than ever, we need to provide assurance for the public that they are buying a puppy from responsible breeders.
“The general public can view members of the scheme through our ‘Say no to Puppy Dealers’ website and look into buying a puppy safely from them.”
The voluntary scheme is available to any dog breeder in Scotland. The Scottish SPCA has developed a framework for responsible breeding and inspectors will assess applications and visit breeding premises annually to make sure high welfare standards are in place.
Ms Ferreira continues: “Our mantra is ‘adopt don’t shop’ and we will always advocate rescuing rather than buying. But, as long as puppies are suffering due to this industry, we will do what we can to bring down this despicable trade.
“The pandemic and public demand for puppies has led to more reports to our animal helpline about unscrupulous dealers who want to make money fast with no regard for animal welfare.
“Sadly, public demand for the ‘next-day delivery’ of a puppy remains sky-high and this is fuelling the multi-million-pound low-welfare trade.
‘Our aim is to save puppies and dogs like Milo and stop owners going through the heartbreak of buying a sick puppy.’Gilly Mendes Ferreira, Scottish SPCA head of education, policy and research
“We’ll continue to tackle traders and dodgy dealers, but we also want to highlight the breeders in Scotland who prioritise the welfare of parents and pups.
“We know there are thousands of breeders across the country who do just that and we hope many of them will join this scheme. The scheme forms part of the wider resources we’ve made available to educate the public on how a proper breeder should take them through the rehoming process.
“We are very pleased to have the support of Trading Standards Scotland. This gives the public another avenue they can report concerns to, especially if they spot adverts on online selling sites they think are fraudulent.
“Our aim is to save puppies and dogs like Milo and stop owners going through the heartbreak of buying a sick puppy. No animal deserves that life, if you can call it that, and we will do all we can to stop this happening.”