DOG lovers are being urged to play their part in putting illegal puppy farms in Warwickshire and the West Midlands out of business.
RSPCA bosses say the number of reports about puppy farms has rocketed in the past decade – but believe it is because more people now recognise the illegal trade.
In Warwickshire reports of puppy farms soared from seven in 2008 to 51 last year, while the West Midlands saw 227 complaints last year compared with 31 a decade ago.
Puppy farms see multiple dogs continually bred and their puppies sold. The animals are often kept in poor conditions leaving them at risk of developing illnesses and behavioural problems later in life.
Some farms also have dogs brought in from overseas including very young puppies which are often not vaccinated.
The RSPCA say many people choose to buy a puppy during the school holidays and is instead urging them to adopt a dog or pup from a rescue centre.
RSPCA spokeswoman Lisa Hens said: “It is distressing 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.
“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.
“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 say dogs of all ages and breeds are available from rescue centres. They are also vet-checked, microchipped, neutered and often already trained.
If buying from a breeder use online guide ‘The Puppy Contract’ for advice on finding a healthy dog. Also ensure you see mum and puppies together.
If you are concerned about something you see at a breeder then walk away and do not buy the puppy. Call the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999 or police on 101.
Visit www.rspca.org.uk/findapet to offer a RSPCA rescue dog a home.