Why Ricky Gervais And 100,000 Others Are Right To Want Pet Shop Pup Ban

New research reveals the true cost of buying a puppy and the deadly disease lurking in pet shops

  • One in five pet shop puppies contracts deadly parvovirus
  • One in five people are staggered by the cost of treating their sickly puppy
  • One in four continue to buy from pet shops, newspaper ads or online outlets often used by puppy farmers

The true cost of buying a puppy is soaring, with one in five bought from pet shops contracting a potentially deadly disease within six months, as more and more people are getting their puppies from pet shops, the internet and free newspaper ads, all outlets often used by puppy farmers.

Research conducted by the Kennel Club for its annual Puppy Awareness Week (1-7 September) has revealed that puppies bought from pet shops are four times more likely to contract the potentially deadly parvovirus, which can cost thousands of pounds to treat, as one in five end up with the disease. The Kennel Club and other animal welfare organisations are campaigning to end the sale of puppies and kittens in pet shops.

This comes as the Pup Aid campaign, which is supported by the Kennel Club and Ricky Gervais, has secured a debate in parliament on 4 September about banning the sale of puppies and kittens in pet shops, where the animal's mum is not present, after the second largest animal welfare petition of all time received 110,000 signatures.

The Kennel Club survey showed that 16 percent of people say they have bought a puppy from a pet shop, which amounts to almost 1.5million puppies. Others buy directly from the internet (3 percent) or free newspaper ads (5 percent), with no contact with the breeder or puppy before buying - meaning that almost one in four are buying from outlets commonly used by puppy farmers.

Marc Abraham, Kennel Club Veterinary Advisor and founder of the Pup Aid campaign, said: "Parvovirus is a horrible disease that is frequently contracted by pups from puppy farms because of the filthy conditions that they are kept in. It is no surprise that so many pet shop pups are contracting this disease, as they frequently come from puppy farms. Puppy farmers will not want you to see the puppy's mum, who will probably be unhealthy and overbred, or see the pup's home environment and will go to great lengths to keep you away. I developed the Pup Aid campaign and support the Kennel Club's Puppy Awareness Week because it is crucial that we stop this unnecessary suffering."

The cost of buying a puppy from a disreputable source is hitting people in the pocket, with one in five people surveyed by the Kennel Club saying that they spent a lot more on vets' fees than they anticipated when first buying a dog. This number is more than a third (38 percent) when the pup came from a pet shop and a quarter (26 percent) when bought online.

Common conditions suffered by puppy farmed pups include parvovirus, which can cost up to £2,000 per pup to treat; worms which can cost up to £1,000 if they create diarrhoea requiring a drip; and up to £3,000 if they create surgical problems requiring an abdominal operation.

One in four people say that they think, in hindsight, their puppy could have come from a puppy farm. Many people simply do not know what to expect from a breeder when buying a puppy. Shockingly, 31 percent of people never see their puppy with its mother, more than half don't see the puppy's breeding environment (this number excludes those buying rescue dogs) and 65 percent do not get health certificates for the pup's parents. These are classic signs that a breeder is irresponsible and has something to hide - and these breeders will often sell their pups through dealers, who meet puppy buyers at neutral locations such as motorway services, through pet shops, or directly over the internet, with the buyer only seeing the pup on collection.

Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: "Puppy farming is a horrific industry that can only be halted if puppy buyers get wise to where puppy farmers sell their pups and the kind of corners they will cut, which is why we created Puppy Awareness Week. We urge people to do their research before they buy a puppy and to always go to a Kennel Club Assured Breeder, rescue home or a breeder they know they can trust - otherwise they will pay a high price financially and emotionally, further down the line.

"The Kennel Club Assured Breeder Scheme is the only scheme in the country that sets standards for and inspects dog breeders, and the Kennel Club has UKAS recognition to certify these breeders. Outside of this scheme, puppy farming is rife and there is little regulation, so it is hard for puppy buyers to know who to trust."

The Kennel Club and Dogs Trust have also worked with dog behaviourist Carolyn Menteith to develop the Puppy Socialisation Plan, as responsible breeders will be dedicated to socialising their puppies, whereas puppy farmed pups typically exhibit behavioural problems.

The Kennel Club has made a YouTube film showing the dos and don'ts of buying a puppy which can be found at www.thekennelclub.org.uk/paw.

The Kennel Club is supporting Pup Aid's annual Pup Aid event, being held at Primrose Hill on 6 September, which is a fun, celebrity-backed dog show.

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