RSPCA reveals puppy farm calls at all time high

The number of calls about puppy farms received by the RSPCA have more than doubled over the last five years, according to statistics released today. (Friday)

So far this year the animal welfare charity has received 3,232 calls – a 122% increase from five years ago.

These shocking figures mean that on average the RSPCA has received  more than one call about puppy farms and dealers every three hours – with Greater London coming top for the volume of calls.

RSPCA assistant director of public affairs David Bowles said as the problem grows the need to bring in regulations surrounding the sale of puppies is all the more urgent. 

“For dealers – these puppies are easy money – we believe they buy them in from Ireland and the continent for around £100 and then sell them on the Internet for many hundreds, even thousands of pounds.

“Dealers buy puppies in bulk looking for the highest profit margin. Often the puppies are too young to be away from their mothers and are sick when they are loaded onto vans, before travelling hundreds of miles which is likely to be incredibly stressful and could exacerbate any disease they already have. A lack of socialisation also increases their chances of long-term behavioural problems.

“These people are gambling with the lives of not just these puppies – but the dogs they are bred from too and they are playing with the emotions of people and families who take them on as pets.

“It is clear the present legislation is not working and that this sickening trade needs to be stopped.”
In a bid to raise awareness about the puppy farming industry in the run up to Christmas the RSPCA has also released a run down of the country’s ‘hot spots’ when it comes to reports of puppy farming in 2014.

Greater London racked up the highest number of calls (262) – followed closely by Greater Manchester (209).

David Bowles said: “Puppy trafficking is big business and dealers are getting rich from duping members of the public and often leaving a trail of sick and dead puppies behind them, not to mention the heartache of families that have bought puppies.

“If they’re lucky enough to be rescued, it can be really difficult for the puppies to cope in a home environment and it takes a lot of time, patience and hard-work from their new owners to help them settle in and become confident..

“We want to see tougher regulations in place around the sale of puppies. In 2013 the UK Government brought in new laws to tackle the criminal scrap metal trade in England. But now it's puppies who are being traded like scrap with no regard for their welfare, or even if they live or die.

“It is far too easy to sell puppies and current laws are failing puppies and their parents. The RSPCA wants to see Westminster treat the issue of puppy dealing in England as seriously as they did scrap metal and license anyone who sells a puppy to help ensure traceability and put barriers in the way of dealers.

“This would not stop illegal trading altogether but it would help to remove the huge layer of unregulated puppy dealing we’re currently battling on a daily basis. Local authorities would have the tools they need to act and improve protections for puppy buyers too. ”

The RSPCA is now urging people to tell the UK Government that puppies are more precious than pieces of metal by signing our petition at www.rspca.org.uk/scrapthepuppytrade.


Notes to editors:

Puppy trade hotspots

Yearly breakdown of calls to the RSPCA about the puppy trade (including puppy dealing, puppy farms and puppy trafficking):

2008 – 1,144
2009 – 1,479
2010 – 1,453
2011 – 1,727
2012 – 1,678
2013 – 2,229
2014 – 3,169
2015 (so far – Jan 1 2015 – Nov 24, 2015)- 3,232

Top ten counties for calls to the RSPCA about the puppy trade (including puppy dealing, puppy farms and puppy trafficking): (Based on call figures for Jan 1, 2014-Dec 31st 2014)

  1. Greater London – 262
  2. Greater Manchester – 209
  3. Durham – 157
  4. West Midlands – 148
  5. Essex – 134
  6. Cheshire – 123
  7. Kent – 115
  8. West Yorkshire – 107
  9. South Yorkshire – 99
  10. Staffordshire – 95