The UK is reportedly facing a “puppy shortage” following an increased demand for pets amid the ongoing nationwide lockdown.
According to the Financial Times, the sudden increase in demand has resulted in “soaring prices”, with reports that prices have been quoted at twice the level they were before the pandemic.
Waiting lists for new puppies have also increased fourfold, according to UK breeders, while the Kennel Club said that inquiries through its puppy portal increased 140% in April against the year prior.
Meanwhile, the RSPCA said there has been a 600% increase in visits to its dog fostering pages, and a 30% rise in its find a pet section. Searches for pets through the Dogs Trust has also “more than doubled”.
Bill Lambert, head of health and welfare at the Kennel Club, told the newspaper: “There is unprecedented demand. Normally I get one or two inquiries a month but now it’s four or five a day.”
“Waiting lists are all full now. People will have to wait as the initial supply has been taken up.”
Adam Levy, regional manager at pets charity Dogs Trust, said: “We know there is a shortage of pups in the UK – demand is just not met by UK breeders and rehomers.”
Levy also warned of an increased risk of puppy farming and smuggling, saying that prospective owners may not be using registered breeders when looking for a puppy.
He added that a “tremendous amount” of dogs have been brought into the UK”, transported through commercial transport amid the ongoing pandemic.
In addition, there has reportedly been an increase in the amount of pregnant dogs brought into the UK, allowing gangs to sell their puppies once they have arrived in the country.
Levy added: “There is a lot of money to be made. These are often criminal gangs. It’s a very lucrative business with few penalties.”