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Campaign urges pet lovers to avoid puppy farms

Puppy and kitten

Gateshead Council Trading Standards is backing a new campaign urging pet lovers not to get conned by puppy and kitten farms masquerading as genuine breeders.

The campaign urges people to ask themselves 'Who's the person behind the pet' to defend themselves against unscrupulous sellers who pretend that the puppy or kitten they're selling you comes from a happy home when in reality, the animal may have been bred in appalling conditions on a puppy farm.

The campaign introduces a new phrase  'Petfished' to describe people taking on false identities and histories for the pets they sell - much like 'Catfished', when someone is lured into a relationship by a fictional online persona.

A national survey of vets revealed that buying a pet from a puppy farm could cost pet owners an extra £5,000 in vet bills over just 12 months.

Get your new pet - safelyMore than half of vets surveyed (54%) said that the poor conditions of puppy or kitten farms can lead to illnesses and complications which would easily incur treatment costs of up to £5,000 in the first year of the animal's life - and could even result in the pet being euthanised.

Animals reared on puppy farms often live in awful conditions which can lead to chronic health problems, behavioural issues, and, in the most tragic cases, death. Poor conditions suffered by puppies and kittens include early separation from their mothers, huge numbers of animals cramped in unhygienic spaces, and the likelihood of long journeys from the place they were bred to their new home.

All of these can contribute to an increased risk of disease and behavioural issues - and increased expense for the unlucky owner.

The government has now banned commercial third party puppy and kitten sales and is now urging the public to play their part to tackle the cruel trade by encouraging prospective owners to be more aware of where a new pet may have come from.

People should look for warning signs that a puppy or kitten has been raised in low welfare conditions, including:

  • Looking at the seller's profile and search their name online. If they are advertising many litters from different breeds, then avoid.
  • Checking contact details. Copy and paste the phone number into a search engine. If the number is being used on lots of different adverts, sites and dates then this is likely a deceitful seller.
  • Checking the animal's age. Puppies and kittens should never be sold under 8 weeks old - do not buy from anyone advertising a puppy or kitten younger than 8 weeks.
  • Checking the animal's health records. Make sure the seller shares all records of vaccinations, flea and worm treatment and microchipping with you before sale.

Christine Middlemiss, UK Chief Veterinary Officer, says "Vets see the tragic effects of 'Petfishing' first-hand, but so too do the public who may be put through the pain and cost of looking after, and even losing, a sick puppy or kitten due to the conditions it was bred in.

Find a licenced breeder"It's vital that prospective pet owners take responsibility for where they get their pets from and avoid puppy-farms and unscrupulous dealers.

"The campaign launched today sets out the simple steps that can be taken by the public to spot the warning signs and ensure their puppy or kitten is given the best start in life."

Gateshead Council publishes a list of all licenced dog breeders in Gateshead on its website.

Anyone looking to buy a pet can get tips and advice at getyourpetsafely.campaign.gov.uk

Puppy and kitten
10 March 2020

Gateshead Council Trading Standards is backing a new campaign urging pet lovers not to get conned by puppy and kitten farms masquerading as genuine breeders.

The campaign urges people to ask themselves 'Who's the person behind the pet' to defend themselves against unscrupulous sellers who pretend that the puppy or kitten they're selling you comes from a happy home when in reality, the animal may have been bred in appalling conditions on a puppy farm.

The campaign introduces a new phrase  'Petfished' to describe people taking on false identities and histories for the pets they sell - much like 'Catfished', when someone is lured into a relationship by a fictional online persona.

A national survey of vets revealed that buying a pet from a puppy farm could cost pet owners an extra £5,000 in vet bills over just 12 months.

Get your new pet - safelyMore than half of vets surveyed (54%) said that the poor conditions of puppy or kitten farms can lead to illnesses and complications which would easily incur treatment costs of up to £5,000 in the first year of the animal's life - and could even result in the pet being euthanised.

Animals reared on puppy farms often live in awful conditions which can lead to chronic health problems, behavioural issues, and, in the most tragic cases, death. Poor conditions suffered by puppies and kittens include early separation from their mothers, huge numbers of animals cramped in unhygienic spaces, and the likelihood of long journeys from the place they were bred to their new home.

All of these can contribute to an increased risk of disease and behavioural issues - and increased expense for the unlucky owner.

The government has now banned commercial third party puppy and kitten sales and is now urging the public to play their part to tackle the cruel trade by encouraging prospective owners to be more aware of where a new pet may have come from.

People should look for warning signs that a puppy or kitten has been raised in low welfare conditions, including:

  • Looking at the seller's profile and search their name online. If they are advertising many litters from different breeds, then avoid.
  • Checking contact details. Copy and paste the phone number into a search engine. If the number is being used on lots of different adverts, sites and dates then this is likely a deceitful seller.
  • Checking the animal's age. Puppies and kittens should never be sold under 8 weeks old - do not buy from anyone advertising a puppy or kitten younger than 8 weeks.
  • Checking the animal's health records. Make sure the seller shares all records of vaccinations, flea and worm treatment and microchipping with you before sale.

Christine Middlemiss, UK Chief Veterinary Officer, says "Vets see the tragic effects of 'Petfishing' first-hand, but so too do the public who may be put through the pain and cost of looking after, and even losing, a sick puppy or kitten due to the conditions it was bred in.

Find a licenced breeder"It's vital that prospective pet owners take responsibility for where they get their pets from and avoid puppy-farms and unscrupulous dealers.

"The campaign launched today sets out the simple steps that can be taken by the public to spot the warning signs and ensure their puppy or kitten is given the best start in life."

Gateshead Council publishes a list of all licenced dog breeders in Gateshead on its website.

Anyone looking to buy a pet can get tips and advice at getyourpetsafely.campaign.gov.uk

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