Puppy power: new-look resource empowers pet owners to buy a healthy puppy from a responsible breeder

01 October 2018

The new website for The Puppy Contract helps prospective buyers navigate the steps leading up to welcoming a puppy home

A puppy should never be bought on an
impulse or without proper research, the Animal Welfare Foundation (AWF) and the
British Veterinary Association (BVA) are reminding prospective dog owners, as
stronger animal licensing and breeding regulations come into effect in England today (1 October).

To empower prospective buyers with all
the information they need to avoid puppy farms and get a happy, healthy puppy
from a responsible breeder, The Puppy Contract is relaunching today with a new-look website and a step-by-step guide to the dos and
don'ts of buying a puppy

70%
of pet owners in the UK do some research before getting a pet, but one in four
owners – or 5.2 million people- admit to doing no research at all, often putting more thought into buying a pair of shoes
than a puppy. The result can be serious health and welfare consequences for
the animals.

The Puppy Contract is a one-stop guide
that aims to offer prospective puppy owners all the information they need at
their fingertips. The free, downloadable tool-kit has been developed by AWF and
the RSPCA and is supported by leading UK animal welfare charities and
professional bodies - BVA, Dogs Trust, PDSA, Universities Federation for Animal
Welfare and Dog Breeding Reform Group - to help anyone buying or breeding
puppies to do so responsibly. It consists of two parts: an information section
about the puppy and its parents, to be filled out by the breeder, and a legally
binding contract for sale between the buyer and the breeder. It can be used by
any breeder and is not restricted to pedigree dogs or professional breeders.

The
newly launched website for The Puppy Contract helps prospective buyers navigate
the steps leading up to welcoming a puppy home. It includes a ten-step guide,
which has advice on whether a puppy is the right choice for the individual or
family, the costs of owning one and where to get a puppy and all the right
questions to ask the breeder about socialisation, vaccination, microchipping
and health tests. Separate sections share tips on how to spot a puppy dealer
and an overview of puppy breeding laws in all four countries of the UK.

Animal
Welfare Foundation Chairperson Chris Laurence said:

“Bringing
a puppy into your life is a huge commitment and choosing where to buy your
puppy from is a decision that will stay with you for
the dog's lifetime. The Puppy Contract is a unique resource, designed to
help guide you through the process of finding a puppy which has been bred with
the best chance of living a healthy and happy life. We urge anyone looking for
a new dog to take their time and do plenty of research and always use The Puppy
Contract.”

British
Veterinary Association President and AWF Trustee Simon Doherty said:

“Animal welfare is always the top priority for
vets, and we believe that starts right at the beginning of a pet's life.

“Poorly
bred puppies can suffer diseases, health problems and poor socialisation that
can lead to behaviour problems, so it is important to always consider how a
puppy has been reared and cared for in its first few weeks to ensure a happy,
healthy dog in later life.

“We'd
encourage anyone thinking of getting a new puppy to speak to their local
veterinary practice for advice on the right dog for them and use The Puppy
Contract to ensure they are buying a healthy, happy and well-socialised puppy. If a seller is not willing to provide the information
listed in The Puppy Contract, then you should walk away and report concerns to
local authorities otherwise you risk perpetuating irresponsible dog breeding.”

RSPCA
dog welfare expert Lisa Hens said:

“It's
incredibly important that people do their research before starting their search
for the paw-fect pooch and we hope the new-look Puppy Contract will help from
the beginning of the process all the way through to the end.

“The new website will help prospective
dog owners prepare to find their new pet and the contract provides a guide to
the questions to ask to help identify responsible breeders and choose a happy,
healthy puppy.

“While we'd always encourage people to
rescue a dog we know that lots of families want to take on a puppy and we want
to help them ensure they find a responsible breeder who prioritises the health
and welfare of the dogs. The Puppy Contract will help people do this and we
hope this will lead to a generation of happy, healthy dogs.”

The
Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England)
Regulations 2018 have been designed to protect, among other things, the welfare
of puppies and their parents by regulating the conditions under which they are
bred and sold. Under the new laws, anyone breeding or selling dogs in England
must hold a licence from their local authority, meet a set of minimum welfare
standards to obtain such a licence, show puppies alongside their mother before
a sale, and only sell a puppy after it is eight weeks of age, among other
regulations.

Related links

Related BVA policy

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