RSPCA: Pet buyers given puppy power thanks to new contract and information pack
RSPCA and BVA Animal Welfare Foundation launch PIP
Puppy buyers have been given a helping hand in their search for a healthy and happy hound with the launch of the BVA Animal Welfare Foundation and RSPCA’s new Puppy Contract and Puppy Information Pack.
The contract and Puppy Information Pack (PIP) were launched today (11.4.12), endorsed by a string of major animal welfare organisations, after new figures revealed 69% of people currently looking for a dog thought it would be very valuable if breeders were to provide a signed puppy information pack to prospective purchasers.1
The new information pack arms buyers with the knowledge to give themselves the best chance of getting a fit, healthy and happy, well socialised pet to join their household.
The new pack provides thorough guidance for anyone thinking of buying a puppy, as well what it is hoped will become an industry standard contract that will give buyers reassurances about the dog they are buying.
The contract and PIP have also been designed to help good breeders demonstrate the care and attention they have devoted to their puppies’ breeding and upbringing and can be downloaded at www.puppycontract.org.uk
Both the contract and PIP have been endorsed by the Advisory Council on the Welfare Issues of Dog Breeding, British Veterinary Association (BVA), Companion Animal Welfare Council (CAWC), Dogs Trust, PDSA and UFAW (Universities Federation for Animal Welfare).
James Yeates, head of the RSPCA’s companion animals department, said: “The RSPCA receives a large number of calls from heartbroken owners each year. Often they have been forced to spend hundreds of pounds on veterinary bills for their dogs that have been ill from the moment they get their pet home.
“We often hear of sellers that have misled buyers about important information such as vaccinations, have failed to offer information about the puppy’s parentage and have neglected to socialise the dogs before they are sold.
“Meanwhile, good breeders sometimes struggle to demonstrate just how well they have cared for their puppies. We believe the new contract and Puppy Information Pack provide a means of doing just that, while also empowering buyers to demand happy and healthy puppies.
“Ultimately, we hope it means more people will avoid the emotional and financial pitfalls of buying a puppy, and therefore fewer unhealthy and unsocialised puppies being bred by rogue breeders to meet demand.”
Tiffany Hemming, BVA Animal Welfare Foundation Chair of Trustees, said: “Everyone wants their new puppy to be happy and healthy but all too often veterinary surgeons are presented with new puppies that are suffering health and behaviour problems caused by bad breeding.
“Based on the expertise of vets, behaviourists, breeders and a number of other experts, the BVA AWF/RSPCA puppy contract and information pack will give potential puppy buyers the tools to select the right pet for them and give them the best start.
“If you are thinking of buying a puppy speak to your local vet and make sure your chosen breeder provides you with a puppy contract and PIP before you buy.”
The concept of a standard puppy sales contract was identified by all three of the reports on the health and welfare of dogs, which have been published in recent years2. The reports all said a puppy sales contract would improve dog welfare as it would allow the public to make fully informed decisions when buying a dog.3
The contract and PIP can be used for all puppies, whether they are pedigree or not.
A breeder fills in the PIP with information about the puppy before it is sold. This will include information about the health of the puppy and its parents, and the experiences the puppy has had to prepare it for life in its new home.
The contract is then signed by the breeder to say that all of the information they have given in the PIP is true, and by the buyer to say they understand the details they have received and that they undertake to provide for the puppy’s future needs.
Amy Rosevear has bred a litter of cocker spaniel puppies and is considering a second litter. Amy, a veterinary nurse and head receptionist at Pelyn Veterinary Group, gave feedback on the puppy contract during the consultation. She said:
“The puppy contract and information pack are a fantastic idea, as long as everyone uses them. The PIP has everything a new owner could possibly need and it will be very useful when owners take the puppy for the first visit to the vet.
“When I bred my first litter I tried to give the new owners as much information as possible. The PIP is a useful way to pull all of the information together in one place and I will definitely use it if I go on to breed another litter.
“If you want to be a responsible breeder you have to be seen to be doing all of the right things. In future puppy buyers should think twice if there’s no puppy contract and ask questions if information is missing from the PIP.
“Fingers crossed this will mean more healthy and happy puppies.”
Notes for editors
1. Figure taken from an online survey of 1,066 people in October 2011, commissioned by the RSPCA.
2. A Healthier Future for Pedigree Dogs, a conclusion of an inquiry by the Associate Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare (APGAW); Pedigree Dog Breeding in the UK: A Major Welfare Concern?, a review of relevant science by a team of highly respected scientists, vets and dog welfare experts; Independent Inquiry Into Dog Breeding, commissioned by the Kennel Club and Dogs Trust and written by Professor Sir Patrick Bateson.
3. The concept for the puppy contract came from the Dog Breeding Stakeholder Group, which was convened in 2009 under the chairmanship of the BVA AWF to consider practical responses to the problems associated with poor breeding. The Group also produced ‘The guidance on choosing your new dog’ http://www.bva-awf.org.uk/headlines/Guidance_on_choosing_your_new_dog.pdf
The BVA AWF and RSPCA progressed the puppy contract and PIP utilising the knowledge of experts in behaviour, genetics, nutrition, veterinary medicine, welfare and law. The RSPCA carried out market research to determine attitudes to puppy buying. The draft contract and PIP were tested at five veterinary practices where vets, vet nurses, breeders and dog owners were asked to provide feedback. The documents were revised in light of the feedback.
A case study regarding a puppy sold after a secret hernia operation is available from the BVA media office who can arrange interviews with the veterinary surgeon involved in the case.
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