The RSPCA is urging people to be cautious buying puppies after a spike in reports about sick dogs in Cheshire East.

The charity and Cheshire East Council have had 10 incidents reported since the beginning of the year.

They fear that due to lockdown, there could be more families out there who have not reported concerns or incidents.

In many cases, puppies have been found to suffer from the deadly parvovirus.

RSPCA inspector Caren Goodman-James said: “We’ve had a series of tragic reports from families who have bought puppies this year and they’ve fallen ill very quickly after arriving home.

“During lockdown, a number of these reports have been made to the RSPCA and to the council and we’re concerned that there may be many other families out there who haven’t thought to report their concerns to us.

“Sadly, in the most recent cases two puppies have died after testing positive for parvovirus, a highly contagious and life-threatening virus that can prove fatal to pups.

“We’re extremely concerned that dogs are being exploited by unscrupulous breeders looking to cash in on the demand for puppies and that members of the public are being conned and being left heartbroken.”

RSPCA officers, Cheshire Police and Cheshire East Council are urging families who may be looking to buy puppies to be extremely cautious and follow our top tips.

Top tips for families buying a puppy:

– Do lots of research and make sure you can commit to a new dog before looking for your new family member
– Adopt don’t shop – visit your local RSPCA centre to see if you can offer a rescue dog a home
– Use The Puppy Contract – a guide to how to responsibly source a puppy which can help you find a happy, healthy dog
– Always visit more than once and see the mum and puppies interacting together. Be wary of any breeder who won’t let you see mum or pressures you into buying cash there and then

If you’re concerned about something you see at a breeder then walk away, do not buy the puppy and report your concerns to the RSPCA, police on 101 or your local council.

Over the last 10 years (2009-2019), the RSPCA has received 28,168 complaints relating to the puppy trade.

And in the last seven years the charity has rescued 2,172 dogs from puppy farms or imported as part of the illegal trade across England and Wales.

New licensing regulations introduced in England in October 2018 tightened laws around the breeding and selling of puppies and other pets, and earlier this year a ban on third-party sales was introduced meaning that all puppies bred in England should be sold from their place of birth.

Anyone with concerns for the welfare of dogs or puppies being sold or used for breeding should report their concerns to the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999 or contact the council by emailing [email protected]

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