Powys residents are being urged to be cautious and do their research before buying a puppy this Christmas, or at any other time of year.

Powys County Council is experiencing an increased level of complaints about the sales of unhealthy and falsely advertised dogs from alleged unlicensed breeders, as well as the excessive prices being charged.

The rising demand for puppies means that prices have inflated dramatically, with some popular breeds now selling for £3,000 or more.

Unfortunately, this spike has led to an increase in puppy farming, where puppies are often bred in poor conditions which increases their risk of ill health and resulting in high vet bills for the owner.

A motion was recently approved in a Full Council meeting to support future legislation brought into force by the Welsh Government to regulate, and possibly ban, puppy and kitten farms.

Cllr Graham Breeze, Cabinet Member for Regulatory Services, said: “The demand for puppies has surged during the pandemic and with that, prices have soared and many people are being misled.

“If you are considering getting a dog this Christmas – or at any other time - please buy from reputable and recommended dealers and remember there are plenty of rescue dogs who also need loving homes.

“The lead up to Christmas is an opportunity for deceitful sellers to take advantage of people looking for a new pet. That is why we are advising people to remain vigilant and to do plenty of research.

“Our Trading Standards Team work closely with partners such as the RSPCA and Dyfed Powys Police to identify who is behind these sales. If you have suspicions about a breeder, do not exchange money and please walk away.”

There are many warning signs to look out for before visiting a puppy:

Look at the seller’s profile and search their name online. If they are advertising many litters from different breeds, then this is a red flag

Copy and paste the phone number into a search engine. If the number is being used on lots of different adverts, sites and dates then this is likely a deceitful seller

Puppies and kittens should never be sold if they are under 8 weeks old

Check what medical treatment the animal has had

When visiting:

Beware of offers to meet somewhere convenient e.g. car park or motorway services which are separate from nearby or onsite puppy farm

Make sure the mum is present - licensed dog breeders are required to show puppies interacting with their mothers in their place of birth

Check there isn’t a ‘fake’ mum – most fake mums don’t interact with the puppies as they fear the real mum returning

Watch out for puppies or kittens labelled as ‘rescue’ but with much higher than expected price tags

Don’t feel rushed or pressurised into parting with cash

It is not normal to spot health problems at this stage, so don’t be convinced otherwise

For further advice about buying a puppy visit the RSPCA website at https://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/pets/dogs/puppy/choosing

If anyone has any information about illegal breeding please contact [email protected]