The government has today (2 March) launched a new campaign aimed at raising awareness of puppy and kitten farming, with the aim of encouraging the public to be aware of illegal, low-welfare breeders.
The ‘Petfished’ campaign warns potential owners that they may be “more likely to come across deceitful sellers than you might think”, and warns against sellers who “mistreat animals to line their pockets”.
It also provides a comprehensive checklist for those who are considering buying a cat or dog.
This list includes checking the Kennel Club’s Assured Breeder Scheme, the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF) Breeder Scheme, ensuring the animal is older than eight weeks, and asking about medical history, microchips, behaviour and environment.
The campaign also urges owners to not buy their put upon their first visit to the breeder, to only agree to meet in the puppy or kitten’s home, and to ensure the mother and rest of the litter are present upon their visit to the breeder.
The campaign precedes Lucy’s Law, which will ban commercial third-party sales of puppies and kittens in England from 6 April 2020. The law will mean that anyone looking to buy or adopt a puppy or kitten will have to deal directly with the breeder or a reputable rehoming centre.
It also follows the Dog’s Trust warning over ‘dogfishing’ scams. In January, the charity issued a warning over the scams following new statistics that “thousands” have been conned or “dogfished” into buying puppies illegally imported into the UK.
The government said: “Knowing the signs of unscrupulous sellers can help to tackle illegal or low welfare supply of puppies, kittens, cats and dogs.
“If you buy a pet from these sellers, you may not only end up with huge vet bills, but you will also help this cruel trade continue.”