Keep me off your Xmas list

The real cost of buying a puppy at Christmas is their life.


We are urging the public not to buy a puppy as a present this Christmas and to support our #KeepMeOffYourXmasList campaign.

We want to stop people and animals suffering as a result of buying sick or dying puppies from low-welfare breeders.




From January 1 to October 31 this year...

Puppy Trading

1,059 calls

were made to our animal helpline regarding low-welfare puppy breeding.

This is compared to 702 calls in 2020. That’s a 34% increase in just a year.


56 puppies

have been seized so far this year by our special investigations unit.

Alsatian Puppies

150 puppies

were saved from the low-welfare industry in 2020.

On 29 October, our special investigations unit and frontline worked together on a sting and successfully targeted prolific dealers in the Aberdeen area who we know have sold puppies who have sadly passed away.

You can read more about this here.


The warning signs you are buying from a low-welfare dealer


Paw  You may be rushed into parting with cash in exchange for a puppy.

Paw  Do not pay a deposit for a pet you haven’t met in person.

Paw  They may try to fob you off by saying that the puppy’s mother is at the vets, asleep or out for a walk. If the mum isn’t there, then the puppy wasn’t bred there.

Paw  If mum is present she should be interacting with the pups, an unrelated mother will not.

Paw  They might offer to deliver a puppy to you or meet you somewhere random – like a car park. Never allow this to happen.

Paw  Excuses will be given for why they need to drop the puppy to you. Do not accept any excuse, no matter how plausible it seems.

Paw  They may say that any concerns you raise about the puppy’s health issues are ‘normal for the breed’ – but puppy farming can lead to major and in some cases lethal health issues.

Paw  They either won’t have paperwork or certificates or they will be faked. A responsible breeder won’t mind you calling the vet mentioned on the paperwork. Do not accept being told paperwork will be forwarded on at a later date.

Paw  They won’t produce a local authority license or any evidence that they are a member of the Kennel Club assured breeder scheme or the Scottish SPCA Assured Puppy Breeder Sceme.

Remember, these people are master manipulators and will try anything to make you believe they are legitimate and responsible breeders.

The only reason that these dealers are able to operate is because of the demand for puppies. We need the public to act responsibly and not contribute to this appalling trade.

Public demand will fuel this trade and as long as it does, bad dealers will find any means to operate.

The SIU at the Scottish SPCA spearhead Operation Delphin, a multi-agency taskforce designed to bring illegal puppy traders to justice.

It is supported by Dumfries & Galloway Council, ISPCA, RSPCA, USPCA, DSPCA, Stena Line, Police Scotland and others.

Find out more about low-welfare puppy farming by visiting