AN animal charity received dozens of calls this year over concerns about illegal puppy traders.

The RSPCA has released that statistics as the government announces a crackdown on dog breeders who put profits ahead of the health and welfare of animals.

Figures show 37 calls were made in Dorset this year. The RSPCA said 2017 was its busiest year yet tackling the illegal puppy trade.

Defra has today announced proposals to tighten regulations around the breeding and selling of puppies in England - in a move which it’s hoped will help eradicate the underground, illegal puppy trade which is worth millions of pounds a year.

It is the biggest change in pet vending for 66 years.

The Government has announced that it is developing proposals, including:

  • Ensuring that licensed dog breeders must show puppies alongside their mother before a sale is made;
  • Tightening regulations so that puppy sales are completed in the presence of the new owner – preventing online sales where prospective buyers have not seen the animal first and only allowing sales of puppies from the premises 
  • Insisting licensed dog breeders can only sell puppies they have bred themselves;
  • Regulating adverts, including on the internet, by ensuring licensed sellers of all pets, including puppies, include the seller’s licence number, country of origin and country of residence of the pet in any advert for sale.

Under the new rules puppies bred by licensed breeders will have better protection under law; anyone selling a puppy, including online, will need to get a licence and display that licence number; and buyers will need to see the puppy with the mother at the place it was bred before being able to complete a purchase.

RSPCA interim chief executive Michael Ward welcomed the announcement. He said: “This is good news for the hundreds of thousands of dogs bought and sold in England every year.

“This year our inspectors, working with the police and councils, rescued hundreds of puppies and breeding dogs being kept in miserable, squalid conditions by heartless people cashing in on the growing market for puppies.

“We hope these proposed licensing conditions for England, which include a ban on breeders selling puppies other than from their licensed premises, will improve the welfare of puppies and their parents and also crackdown on the multi-million pound illegal trade making it less likely that people are duped by rogue dealers.

“We also welcome moves to stop the illegal smuggling of puppies which is a vile trade resulting in the suffering and death of countless dogs.”