Dark Side Of The Puppy Trade Exposed By New BBC Documentary

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The grim reality of unethical puppy trafficking will be exposed in BBC One's Rogue Traders

If you're planning to www.giveanimalsavoice.org.uk [buy a puppy], do your homework. Make sure you know what to look for and what questions to ask. If something doesn't seem right, it probably isn't, so walk away. Never let your heart rule your head, no matter how tempting.

The grim reality of unethical puppy trafficking will be exposed in BBC One's Rogue Traders this Thursday, which goes undercover with RSPCA officers to reveal the shocking truth behind this lucrative market.

The broadcast comes as new Consumer Direct figures reveal the number of complaints related to animal and pet purchases have almost doubled in two years. In 2006 the Government watchdog received 2,793 complaints, but by 2008 this had soared to 4,6271.

The programme, on BBC One on Thursday 19 February at 8pm, comes after the launch of the RSPCA's puppy trafficking campaign, which aims to advise prospective buyers on what to look for when buying a puppy.

Mark Evans, the RSPCA's chief veterinary advisor, said: "Puppy trafficking is a despicable, profit driven business. The RSPCA wants the public to destroy the puppy trafficking business by only buying from responsible and caring breeders. We hope this episode of Rogue Traders will raise awareness of this unethical trade.

"If you're planning to buy a puppy, do your homework. Make sure you know what to look for and what questions to ask. If something doesn't seem right, it probably isn't, so walk away. Never let your heart rule your head, no matter how tempting."

As well as confronting those accused of selling sick animals, the BBC's Rogue Traders will give an insight into the heartbreak of those who have been caught out by the shocking trade.

Garry Green of Feltham, contacted the RSPCA when his golden cocker spaniel Alfie died of a lung condition just three weeks after he bought him from a pet shop and after more than £1,000 spent on vets bills. Garry will share his sad experience in the programme when he warns people of the tragic consequences of buying a sick dog.

For more information about the RSPCA's puppy trafficking campaign and to watch a short film on the subject, visit http://www.giveanimalsavoice.org.uk.

Tips on buying a puppy are also available at http://www.rspca.org.uk/buyingapuppy.

RSPCA advice to consumers:

  •     Always see a puppy with its mother in the place where it was bred, and pay attention to the mother's size, health, personality and reaction to the puppy - is it the real mother? Ideally see the father too. If you can't see them, be suspicious
  •     Try to find out as much as possible about where the puppy has come from, and beware if the breeder is from outside the UK
  •     If you are told the puppy has been vaccinated, check the vaccination cards carefully. Be wary if the vet's contact details are not visible, or have an address outside the UK
  •     Pedigree certificates are never a guarantee for the condition of your puppy, and may not even mean you are buying a pure-bred dog
  •     Never buy from someone who offers to deliver your puppy or arranges to meet you somewhere
  •     As hard as it will be, never buy a puppy just because you feel sorry for it
  •     If something doesn't feel right, it probably isn't - use your common sense, and walk away
  •     If you are concerned about how you were sold the puppy, contact Consumer Direct on 08454 04 05 06
  •     If you have welfare concerns about puppies you have seen, contact the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999
  •     Always consider instead adopting a rescue dog from an animal welfare organisation.

Notes to editors:

1. Figures taken from the numbers of complaint cases on the Consumer Direct database related to animals and pet purchases. Information captured by Consumer Direct is provided as given by the consumer. No opinion on the truth or verification of the facts has been made by the Consumer Direct service.

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Zaireen Iskandar
RSPCA
0845 408 2031
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