Northamptonshire received 49 calls about illegal puppy trade in one year, RSPCA reveals

Piper is a product of a puppy farm in England.
Piper is a product of a puppy farm in England.

The RSPCA has welcomed plans announced by the Government to clamp down on dog breeders in Northamptonshire who put profits ahead of the health and welfare of their animals.

Between January 1 and December 20 this year, Northamptonshire RSPCA branches received 49 calls relating to potentially illegal puppy farms in the county. This comes after DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs) yesterday announced proposals to tighten regulations around the breeding and selling of puppies in England.

Delphin pictured here with an RSPCA rescue worker.

Delphin pictured here with an RSPCA rescue worker.

It is hoped a law change will help eradicate the underground, illegal puppy trade that is worth millions of pounds a year. It is being called the biggest change in pet vending in more than 60 years.

The Government on Friday announced that it is developing proposals in England which will affect Northamptonshire, including:

-Ensuring that licensed dog breeders must show puppies alongside their mother before a sale is made

- Tightening regulations so that puppy sales are completed in the presence of the new owner – preventing online sales where prospective buyers have not seen the animal first and only allowing sales of puppies from the premises

- Insisting licensed dog breeders can only sell puppies they have bred themselves

- Regulating adverts, including on the internet, by ensuring licensed sellers of all pets, including puppies, include the seller’s licence number, country of origin and country of residence of the pet in any advert for sale.

RSPCA interim chief executive Michael Ward said: “This is good news for the hundreds of thousands of dogs bought and sold in England every year.

“This year our inspectors, working with the police and councils, rescued hundreds of puppies and breeding dogs being kept in miserable, squalid conditions by heartless people cashing in on the growing market for puppies."

It comes as the RSPCA reveals it rescued 295 dogs from puppy farms and unscrupulous breeders in 2017 - bringing the total number of dogs rescued since 2013 up to 1,749.

The charity has seen its busiest year yet investigating complaints relating to the puppy trade with 4,125 calls in total in England. That’s an 11.8 per cent increase compared to last year.

Mr Ward added: “We hope this will improve the welfare of puppies and their parents and also crackdown on the multi-million pound illegal trade making it less likely that people are duped by rogue dealers.

“We also welcome moves to stop the illegal smuggling of puppies which is a vile trade, resulting in the suffering and death of countless dogs.”

For those who want to buy a puppy, the RSPCA urges them to download the free Puppy Contract to help ensure they buy a happy and healthy dog: https://puppycontract.rspca.org.uk/home