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Scottish SPCA and Trading Standards Scotland appeal for responsible breeders to join assured puppy breeder scheme

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Puppies in cage
  • The Scottish SPCA free Assured Puppy Breeders Scheme promotes responsible dog breeders

  • Scottish SPCA seized over 150 puppies from low-welfare farms or dealers in 2020

We are appealing for dog breeders to join our Assured Puppy Breeder Scheme. The free scheme was launched as part of our ongoing efforts to tackle the low-welfare puppy trade.

We have seen a seismic increase in public demand for puppies over lockdown. Unfortunately, this led to bad breeders taking advantage of the situation and putting profit over the welfare of the breeding dogs and puppies they were selling.

In many instances, 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. Sadly, this led to many puppies passing away 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 only 24-hours before being rushed to the vet. The vet found that he had been taken from his mum too early and was only four-weeks-old despite the seller assuring the family he was eight-weeks-old. It was also found that Milo was a border collie and not a Jack Russell as had been advertised on Gumtree. Sadly, Milo passed away despite his owner doing everything they could to save him.

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Milo

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 in to buying a puppy safely from them.”

The voluntary scheme is available to any dog breeder in Scotland. We have 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. The scheme is free and we do not profit from the sale of any puppies but we do receive a small commission from Petplan Ltd for any litters registered.

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Pups in cage

Gilly 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.

“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’s 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.”

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Puppies in carrier

Trading Standards Scotland is asking online consumers to make sure they are buying puppies from legitimate sources and to do their research before they purchase a puppy online.

Julie McCarron, head of intelligence and coordination at Trading Standards Scotland, said: “We are supporting the Scottish SPCA Assured Puppy Breeder Scheme because it gives consumers a means of ensuring that they are obtaining a puppy from a reputable source.

“It gives consumers peace of mind that their pup is likely to be healthy and is not likely to require costly vet treatment. It also helps avoid the emotional distress of having purchased a sick animal who may die soon after it is purchased.” 

The Scottish SPCA Assured Puppy Breeder Scheme offers one-to-one support from inspectors and an annual visit. Members have access to support and guidance all year round and are provided with a welcome pack for every new owner. Members will be able to send puppies to their new homes with Petplan’s 4-weeks free insurance and claim 15% discount through the Canine Health Scheme. These benefits are in addition to tackling the low-welfare puppy trade by being a certified responsible breeder.

The special investigations unit 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.

Disrupting the multimillion pound industry is one of our main priorities, and the #SayNoToPuppyDealers campaign has received widespread public and cross-party political support. Find out more here.

If anyone is concerned about an animal, please do not hesitate to contact our confidential animal helpline on 03000 999 999. We need your support today. From as little as £1, you can save lives. Please support the Scottish SPCA today.

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