Dramatic rise in complaints against puppy farms, RSPCA reveals

The RSPCA is reporting a dramatic increase in complaints against puppy farms Picture: GETTY IMAGES/i

The RSPCA is reporting a dramatic increase in complaints against puppy farms Picture: GETTY IMAGES/iSTOCKPHOTO - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Complaints about puppy farms in Suffolk and Essex have soared in the last ten years, according to the RSPCA.

The animal charity is urging people looking for a dog to offer a home to a rescue animal Picture: GE

The animal charity is urging people looking for a dog to offer a home to a rescue animal Picture: GETTYIMAGES/iSTOCKPHOTO - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The animal charity are urging people looking to buy a puppy to consider adopting a rescue animal instead.

It comes as it the RSPCA reveals a dramatic rise in the number of reports it has received about so-called puppy farms over the last decade.

A puppy farm is often described as a business that breeds puppies on an intensive basis, usually in inhumane conditions.

In Suffolk, the RSPCA received 17 complaints against puppy farms in 2008 - in 2018 the figure had risen to 75.

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The increase is echoed in Essex, with a total of 36 complaints made in 2008 compared to 168 last year.

Lisa Hens, dog welfare expert at the RSPCA, said: "It is distressing that we are still seeing so many reports about puppy farms but part of this increase is probably due to people being more savvy about what to look out for when getting a pet.

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"We know there's a spike in people searching for puppies and buying dogs at the beginning of the school holidays but we'd urge families to carefully consider whether getting a dog is right for them.

"Dogs are a huge commitment and need lots of time and attention, even once summer is over and the kids are back to school.

"If you do have the time and money for a dog then we'd urge you to consider rescuing instead of buying a puppy.

"Not only will this give a rescue dog a chance at finding his forever home but it'll also save any potential heartache caused by unwittingly buying a dog from a puppy farm."

The charity reports that 2018 was the worst year for complaints received against alleged puppy farms across the UK, with 4,357 complaints made last year compared to 890 in 2008.

Mrs Hens added: "After the RSPCA has campaigned for years, the Government last year finally introduced tougher licencing regulations around the selling of animals - including breeding and selling dogs - which we hope will help crackdown on this multi-million pound industry."

Rachel Mattioni, fundraising assistant at the National Animal Welfare Trust (NAWT) said: "We would always recommend rescue animals because there are so many looking for a home. "We are always there to give a helping hand as well.

"If you get your animal and need assistance further down the line we can be there for that extra support when it's needed.

"That's the benefit of a rescue animal.

"We love hearing the updates on the animals, even sad updates, because it's always nice to know they have been cared for in the meantime. "At our Clacton Centre we have seen an increase in bitches and stud dogs coming into care.

"We have responded to about 12 in the last three months, we don't necessarily see the puppies.

"Some of the dogs we see have been kept in warehouses and yards

"They are often left as strays and we have to neuter and care for them to prepare them for a new home.

"They do become lovable pets but you need to put the work in."

NAWT has created a puppy buyers guide so those looking for a pet can make sure they have come from a reputable source.

To offer a rescue dog a new home visit www.rspca.org.uk/findapetIf you are concerned about something you see when visiting a breeder, report it to the RSCPA on 0300 1234999.

For more information on the National Animal Welfare Trust see here.

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