The RSPCA has called for a “crackdown” on puppy imports as a new survey by the group found that more than one in ten people are planning to buy a dog this festive season.
The organisation has stated it is concerned that a “record” number of dogs could be imported over the following weeks to meet the demand for Christmas puppies.
RSPCA is now calling for a “tougher enforcement” regarding the importation of puppies at UK borders and also wants the age puppies can be imported (either commercially or non-commercially) to be increased to 24 weeks in a bid to stop the illicit trade in trafficking dogs in to sell them on to unsuspecting members of the public.
Chris Sherwood, chief executive said: “Every year we see a spike in online searches and adverts for puppies in the run-up to Christmas and with lockdown continuing to drive up demand for dogs, we expect this year could see more families looking for puppies than ever before.
“While some of these families will take on loving rescue dogs or buy happy, healthy puppies from responsible breeders, we know that many will unknowingly fall victim to illicit and underground puppy breeders and sellers who prioritise profit over the health and welfare of their dogs.”
He added: “Some people may unwittingly buy a puppy who has been bred in poor conditions in a cold, dark barn or warehouse without having access to the proper food, veterinary care and early life experiences that are so important for them to grow into happy and healthy dogs.
“Others may well have been born in appalling conditions on puppy farms abroad, taken from their mothers at just a few weeks old and illegally smuggled into the country to be sold on to innocent buyers.”