Battersea believes puppies and kittens should not be sold in pet shops. This is why we argued for an end to loopholes which allowed for puppies under eight weeks to be sold to pet shops and “dealers”, as well as tighter regulation on breeding establishments.
Poorly regulated pet shops are the route to market for puppies and kittens from puppy farms and from third party dealers looking for a quick profit. Such pets are sold too young and bought too easily, sometimes with lifelong health and welfare problems as a result of early mistreatment. This is wrong, and it must stop.
Battersea is supportive of a ban on third party dealers selling puppies and kittens, a trade which brings untold misery by foisting unhealthy, unsocialised animals onto an unsuspecting public. However, there are significant obstacles around the scope and enforcement of a ban that need tackling. Whilst a ban on third party sales would tackle many problems with dealers, it is wrong to assume that it will improve welfare alone without raising the standards of breeders through better licensing. We need both higher standards at breeders and an end to low-welfare dealing to improve welfare and Battersea is keen to work with Government to make sure both are in place and fully enforceable. The plans announced on 8 February will go a long way to making this happen.
Battersea would encourage anyone interested in getting a puppy to visit a rescue centre, where they can receive expert advice on how best to take on the responsibility for an animal, making it as smooth and enjoyable as possible. If a buyer is determined to visit a breeder, then any puppy should always be seen with its mother before sale. If you are suspicious that the welfare of the animals may be in danger, please contact the RSPCA.