People in Scotland are increasingly buying puppies online despite the risk of purchasing from illegal breeders, according to new research.
Almost half (45%) of people who bought a puppy in 2019 did so online, up from a quarter (25%) the previous year. One in five puppies bought through online advertising websites, where most illegal dealers operate, get sick or die within the first year, and one in four die before their fifth birthday.
Launching the latest phase of the Scottish Government’s Buy a Puppy Safely campaign in Edinburgh, Minister for Rural Affairs and Natural Environment Mairi Gougeon said:
“Puppy farms breed misery, and that misery is being fuelled by the huge demand for puppies and facilitated through online adverts and sellers.
“Last year’s campaign contributed to a 37% increase in the number of advice calls about suspected puppy farms to the Scottish SPCA’s animal helpline. As people increasingly look online to buy a puppy, it is more important than ever that they know how to spot the signs of illegal dealers.
“There are key checks that can help ensure you are buying safely. These include meeting the puppy’s mother with her litter and ensuring all the correct paperwork is in place. If something doesn’t feel right, walk away and report your concerns to the Scottish SPCA.”