An animal welfare charity has issued a warning over the low-welfare puppy trade after four of eight dogs rescued in a raid on a Glasgow Airbnb died.
The Scottish SPCA said the pups passed away due to a number of health issues, including parvovirus.
The contagious disease is rife among badly bred dogs due to the cramped and unsanitary environment they are raised in. Often their mum is too weak from overbreeding to provide essential nutrients or the puppy is taken away prematurely.
The Scottish SPCA said lockdown has led to a huge demand for puppies, with bad breeders capitalising on this and “putting financial gain over the welfare of the animals they are breeding”.
Low-welfare breeders adopt many different tactics to fool buyers into parting with money.
They use excuses to drop the puppy to a buyer, often blaming the pandemic or that someone in their house is shielding. And now, using rental properties such as Airbnb listings to sell multiple puppies.
Once the transactions are completed, the sellers move on and are very difficult to trace.
The chairty’s special investigations unit teamed up with Police Scotland to raid the Glasgow property on January 28.
The owner had unknowingly rented their premises to the low-welfare puppy dealers.
One of the inspectors, who cannot be named due to undercover work, said: “We became aware of a number of properties booked on Airbnb being used by unscrupulous dealers to sell pups at high cost.
“Sadly, the puppies became seriously ill or passed away.
“With the help of Police Scotland we entered the address where we discovered eight puppies of varying breeds.
“We visually assessed the pups and it was clear they were in very poor health.
“They were immediately taken for veterinary attention where it was found they had a range of health issues such as parvovirus, parasitic and bacterial infections and heavy worm burdens.
“Unfortunately, despite the best efforts to save the lives of the pups, four of the puppies sadly passed away.
“We are urging both the public and short-term rental property owners to be vigilant and report any concerns to our confidential animal helpline.”
One Airbnb host contacted the Scottish SPCA after discovering faeces and dog waste inside a cupboard after having rented their home out.
The inspector added: “Puppies and their parents are suffering and dying due to this industry.
“As long as this is happening, we will do what we can to bring down this appalling trade. Public demand remains sky high and as long as this continues, bad dealers will find any means to operate.
“We are very pleased to have the support of Airbnb who are just as dedicated to tackling this issue as we are.”
If you have any information on the low-welfare puppy trade, call the Scottish SPCA’s confidential animal helpline on 03000 999 999.