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Pandemic puppy purchasing rush may have dangerous consequences for ‘click and collect’ dogs

A doggy health organisation this week revealed worrying statistics about a rise in virtual puppy buying in London that may worsen breeding conditions for dogs.

Dog ownership soared across London during lockdown, and Southwark saw the biggest increase, with a 140 per cent rise in puppy purchasing.

But data released by dog health organisation Kennel Club suggests that 45 per cent of London dog owners admit to having a puppy delivered, or “click and collecting” without ever seeing its breeding environment or parents – and three out of five would order the same way again.

This goes against years of campaigning by various dog charities to reduce this kind of purchasing, as it enables scammers and rogue breeders to take advantage of a less regulated market and sell dogs who have been raised in horrid breeding conditions.

“It’s understandable that many of us may have developed some fairly harmless bad habits during lockdown,” said chief executive of The Kennel Club Mark Beazley, “But when it comes to puppy buying, these bad habits must be reversed.”

“If a breeder is offering to deliver the pup to your house or asking to take money from you before you’ve even seen the pup, alarm bells should be ringing. Scammers, rogue breeders and cruel puppy traders can, and will, cash in on this dangerous virtual puppy buying world, with devastating consequences for dogs.”

“Only seeing your puppy online could mean that you’re missing vital clues that your puppy may have come from an unscrupulous breeder,”  said RSPCA Chief Inspector for London South Mark Miles.

Copyright James Robinson / The Kennel Club

Among some of the more worrying statistics were that 18 per cent of Londoners spent less than two hours researching their new puppy and where it was from, with 23 per cent admitting that they didn’t find a reputable source, and relied only on internet chatter and social media.

Fifty-one per cent of new owners didn’t bother taking their dog to training classes, with a nearly a quarter reporting that they haven’t socialised their dog with other dogs or with people.

Furthermore, Government figures in 2021 saw a rise of 75 per cent in commercial dog imports from the year prior, creating concern about how many dogs are coming from illegal or unscrupulous backgrounds.

A spokesperson for the RSPCA also highlighted the difficult financial aspect when adopting a dog without properly researching ahead of time.

“Many people massively underestimate the cost of medical procedures and so it can be a major shock when their pet becomes unwell. For example, a ruptured cruciate, ligament in the knee, could cost £3-5k to repair and surgery to remove a corn cob stuck in the intestine can be £2-4k, or more if there are complications.

“Most owners would not be able to find several thousands of pounds should their pet become unwell but this can be the reality if you don’t have insurance.”

Kennel Club’s research found that 23 per cent of new owners put off completing post-purchase admin such as buying insurance.

For more tips on how to “puppywise,” they advise visiting their website at thekennelclub.org.uk/be-puppywise

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