Investigations and prosecutions of illegal puppy breeding by local authorities in Wales have increased dramatically.
The latest figures revealed by RSPCA Wales indicate that Welsh local authorities received almost 1,000 inquiries from concerned members of the public in 2020 and 2021 – with the figure increasing by 6.75% in the latter.
Billie-Jade Thomas, public affairs officer for RSPCA Wales, said: “It is encouraging to see local authorities act on the information provided to them by members of the public and may suggest that puppy buyers are becoming more knowledgeable and listen to advice on breeding and rearing puppies.
“But these figures demonstrate that there are still significant problems with poor puppy-rearing practices in Wales – and we fear they are just the tip of the iceberg.”
The RSPCA has urged the public to contact the local trading standards team, which is responsible for licensing breeders if they have concerns about anyone selling puppies without a licence. The RSPCA will help if needed with any welfare concerns and will support local authorities in rehoming animals that are rescued from illegal breeders.
Billie-Jade added: “While we always encourage people to adopt a rescue dog instead, we know that many families want to take a puppy. To help them find a responsible breeder who puts health first and well-being of dogs, we think it is extremely important that they use free tools such as the Puppy Contract.
“Good breeding and care can help ensure that puppies and their parents live happy, healthy lives. Irresponsible breeding and poor care can lead to health and behavior problems in puppies, as well as stress and expense for owners – and sadly these new statistics suggest it’s still all too common in Wales.