New scheme for dog breeders launched to combat illegal puppy trade

  • Assured Puppy Breeders Scheme will point the public in the direction of responsible dog breeders
  • Scottish SPCA has seized 157 puppies from illegal farms or dealers so far this year

The Scottish SPCA has launched a free scheme for responsible puppy breeders as part of its ongoing efforts to tackle the illegal puppy trade.

Scotland’s animal welfare charity has launched its Assured Puppy Breeders Scheme to create a hub for responsible breeders. The general public will be able to view members of the scheme through the ‘Say no to Puppy Dealers’ website and look in to buying a puppy safely from them.

Moray puppy farm

The voluntary scheme will be available to any dog breeder in Scotland. The Scottish SPCA has 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 the Society will not profit from it or from any pups sold by registered members.

Gilly Mendes Ferreira, head of education and policy at the Scottish SPCA, said: “Our mantra is ‘adopt don’t shop’ and we will always advocate rescuing rather than buying.”

“Our work to shine a light on the barbaric illegal puppy trade over the past few years has led to greater public awareness in spotting the signs a pup might be from a farm. Consequently, this has led to more reports to our helpline of 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 illegal 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.”

Moray puppy farm dog

James Barnes, Head of Partnerships at Petplan, said: “We are proud to support the new Assured Puppy Breeder Scheme and welcome the action the Scottish SPCA are taking to improve responsible buying and selling of pets. Our priority is to ensure the health and wellbeing of all pets and we are delighted to be working in partnership with the Scottish SPCA to provide puppies with access to free veterinary care via the Petplan Breeder Scheme.”

In 2019, the Society has received 251 reports of puppy farming or dealing and seized 157 pups. Many dogs seized from farms are rife with diseases and infections such as parvovirus and giardia.

The SIU team 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.

Disrupting the multimillion pound industry is one of the Society’s main priorities, and its #SayNoToPuppyDealers campaign has received widespread public and cross-party political support.

Scottish SPCA volunteer with rescue cat

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