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Kent is fourth worst county for illegal puppy trading, RSPCA reveal

PUBLISHED: 16:27 17 July 2017

RSPCA picture of puppies rescued

RSPCA picture of puppies rescued

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Figures show the animal welfare charity were called to 168 reports relating to the issue

Figures released by the RSPCA show that Kent is the fourth worst county for illegal puppy trading.

In 2016, the animal rescue and welfare charity responded to 168 calls relating to the issue, just 112 calls less than from the whole of Greater London.

Lisa Richards, RSPCA dog welfare expert, said: “We urge anyone thinking of buying a puppy to be extremely careful when they’re choosing what type of dog to buy, where to buy from and who to buy from.

“It’s so important to do lots of research not only into the type of dog you want and the kind of care he needs, but also into any potential breeder that you’re considering going to.

“Today, particularly with the rise of puppies being advertised and sold online, it’s becoming more and more difficult to tell the responsible breeders apart from the unscrupulous ones.”

The charity - working alongside Gumtree - also looked into the areas with the highest number of online listings advertising dogs and puppies for sale - with the results painting a very similar picture to the RSPCA’s findings.

These findings listed Kent as the eight county with the most amount of listings for dog trading, with 5,423 advertisements.

Ms Richards, added: “These statistics reveal the scale of the online puppy selling market and it’s very concerning.

“We want all sellers to put the welfare of their dogs and puppies ahead of everything else but, unfortunately, there are many dealers who care only about their profits at the expense of the animals’ health and welfare.

“While classified websites, if used responsibly, can be an effective method of advertising for responsible breeders and rescue organisations, sadly, far too many people abuse the internet and this has led to many animal welfare issues arising.

“As well as the classified websites, like Gumtree, working with us to crackdown on these dealers, we also need the public’s help to stamp out this underground trade. So please take care when buying a puppy. We know it’s hard but if you’re concerned about anything when you visit a breeder, walk away and call the RSPCA and your local authority.”

If you’re concerned about a breeder, contact the RSPCA’s 24-hour emergency hotline on 0300 1234 999.

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