Celebrities back government's 'Petfished' campaign
Battersea ambassador Paul O'Grady and television presenter Amanda Holden are among the signatories of an open letter calling on the public to thoroughly research sellers online before buying a new pet.
The letter, also signed by the UK's chief veterinary officer Christine Middlemiss, forms part of the UK government's Petfished campaign, which aims to educate the public on the illegal pet trade and help them spot ‘red flags’ when buying a new pet.
The warning follows the continued demand for pets since the easing of lockdown, with online marketplace Preloved reporting that the number of pet listings has increased by nearly 50 per cent since March. The website is anticipating a further boom in adverts throughout the summer.
The BSAVA has advised that vets are dealing with ongoing cases where owners have been sold sick puppies and kittens by unscrupulous dealers as a result of new owners not researching sellers before buying their new pet.
CVO Christine Middlemiss said: “Prospective pet owners must beware of sinister sellers out there who breed animals purely for profit with zero concern for their welfare.
“The devastating consequences include crippling vet bills and, in the worst cases, animals having to be put down. It’s vitally important that people not only research the breed of animal they want but also the person selling it to them.”
The letter is supported by animal charities including Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, the Blue Cross, Cats Protection, Dogs Trust and the RSPCA.
Animal welfare minister Zac Goldsmith said that it is 'more important than ever' that buyers do their research and ensure they go to a reputable seller.
“Following the introduction of Lucy’s Law earlier this year, everyone must now buy directly from breeders or consider adopting from rescue centres,” he said. “So please look out for the warning signs and report any suspicious activity.”