Warwickshire County Councillor Andy Crump, Portfolio Holder for Community Safety said:“The popularity of owning a dog has increased since the pandemic began, such that demand for puppies has gone through the roof and prices for many breeds have more than doubled."
"Unfortunately, this has encouraged criminals to get involved, leading to more puppy thefts and prospective owners paying huge sums for stolen or sick puppies or large deposits for puppies that don't even exist."
"We've published some top tips to assist would be dog owners to avoid these scam puppy sales."
Trading Standards Animal Health Officers have received reports of criminal gangs illegally smuggling puppies in to the UK to sell, puppies being stolen and sold on and consumers paying huge deposits to online sellers for puppies that don’t exist.
Illegally imported puppies may carry diseases that are a threat to human health such as rabies. Criminal gangs have also been involved in puppy farming, where dogs are often bred in appalling conditions, increasing the risk of disease and ill health.
In April 2020 ‘Lucy’s Law’ was introduced, meaning that anyone wanting to get a new puppy, or kitten, in England must now buy direct from a breeder, or consider adopting from a rescue centre instead.
Licensed dog breeders are required to show puppies interacting with their mothers in their place of birth.
If a business sells puppies or kittens without a licence, they could receive an unlimited fine or be sent to prison for up to six months.
The new law seeks to tackle the low-welfare, high volume supply of puppies (and kittens), by banning their commercial third-party sale in England.
Beginning on Monday March 8, Warwickshire Trading Standards is launching a new campaign to promote their top tips, search ‘buypuppysafe’ or follow on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/warwickshiretradingstandards and Twitter: https://twitter.com/WarksTSS