If you have had a bad experience with a breeder or puppy seller, bought a sick puppy or have been misled in any way (false documentation/false information about where your puppy was bred), please report your case by following the procedures below. If you suspect your puppy was not bred by the puppy seller, you may be able to establish this by removing any address labels on your puppy’s vaccination card as beneath these labels may be the name and address of the original breeder.
It’s important you report your complaint to the relevant authorities and organisations as it will enable them to keep records of complaints against breeders/sellers. This is particularly useful for organisations like C.A.R.I.A.D. as we often request copies of complaint logs from the authorities under the Freedom of Information Act.
If you believe there to be an immediate welfare threat, your puppy became sick soon after purchase or your puppy developed a condition/illness later in life that you feel was directly linked to how your puppy was bred, log your complaint with the RSPCA. The RSPCA will prioritise an investigation into a breeder or puppy seller if they receive a number of complaints showing a pattern of selling sick puppies.
RSPCA Cruelty Hotline 0300 1234 999
Online Reporting – http://www.rspca.org.uk/utilities/contactus/reportcruelty
If you have bought a sick puppy or have any concerns about a breeder or puppy seller, contact your Local Council. The Animal Licensing or Environmental Services Department deal with aspects relating to breeders and puppy sellers, specifically the licensing aspect of these business. Contact details can be found on your local Council website usually under Animal Licensing or Environmental Services/Health.
If you suspect your local Council is not adhering to animal welfare legislation and is licensing unsuitable premises, and your Council is ignoring your welfare and breeding concerns, please report them to DEFRA and the Local Government Ombudsman. You can also report the Council to their own Scrutiny Committee, details of Scrutiny Committees are found on all Council websites.
CITIZENS ADVICE/TRADING STANDARDS
Sales of puppies are covered under consumer law including the Sale of Goods Act. If you have bought a sick puppy or have been misled in any way (false documentation/false information about where your puppy was bred), it is imperative you contact Citizens Advice who will provide advice and forward your complaint to the relevant Trading Standards department.
The Consumer Rights Act 2015, click on the link below to understand your new and improved rights as a consumer.
Many traders are prosecuted for breach of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. The CPUT Regulations not only cover those traders operating without a licence, they cover a wide range of activities including misleading information, selling faulty goods, omitting relevant information, using coercive sales tactics etc..
“Practices may also mislead by failing to give consumers the information they need to make an informed choice. This occurs when practices:
• omit or hide material information, or provide it in an unclear, unintelligible, ambiguous or untimely manner, and
• the average consumer takes, or is likely to take, a different decision as a result.
SMALL CLAIMS COURT
Puppies are considered ‘goods’ in the eyes of the law and are therefore treated in the same way as any other goods under the Sale of Goods Act. The ‘Small Claims Court’ covers claims up to £10,000 and the time limit for a Small Claims Court is 6 years from the date of purchase.
Below we have placed a useful link to how the Small Claims Court system works.
If the breeder or puppy seller is using online classifieds, please contact the online classifieds company immediately so that they may undertake their own investigation. If the online classified refuses to take action, or has a history of allowing unscrupulous sellers to use their site, report them to the Pet Advertising Advisory Group (PAAG).
If the breeder or puppy seller states their puppies are KC registered or the breeder is part of the Kennel Club Assured Breeder Scheme, please contact the Kennel Club immediately. Remember, Kennel Club registered is different to an Assured Breeder as the registration only applies to the puppies and not the breeder. KC Registration is a registry of puppies bred – nothing more. A puppy being sold as KC registered does not mean that the seller or breeder is trustworthy or scrupulous.
MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT
Contact your local MP about your concerns as he or she may be able to assist.
If you suspect someone is breeding and selling dogs as a business i.e. it is a profit making enterprise irrespective of the number of litters, and they are doing so without a breeding licence, contact your local Council Licensing Department.
UNLICENSED THIRD PARTY PUPPY SELLERS
If you suspect someone is selling puppies they have bought from another seller or breeder i.e. they are selling puppies they themselves have not bred, contact your local Council Licensing Department.
For information on Pet Shop Licence criteria visit – https://www.gov.uk/pet-shop-licence
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION
If you wish to obtain a list of licensed dog breeders and licensed pet shops selling puppies in your area, or you wish to obtain information on a certain licensed breeder or seller such as history of complaints, inspection reports or copies of licences, you can do so by sending a Freedom of Information request to your local Council. All Council websites have a section on Freedom of Information requests.
If you suspect the breeder/seller is not paying tax and should be, report them to HMRC.
If you suspect the breeder/seller is claiming state benefits and have not declared their breeding/selling activities to the authorities, report them to the Department of Work and Pensions.
ILLEGAL PUPPY IMPORTS
If you suspect someone is illegally importing puppies, please contact your local authority Trading Standards Department, the RSPCA (England and Wales), SSPCA (Scotland), USPCA (Northern Ireland), ISPCA (Ireland) and Dogs Trust.
If you suspect someone is operating an illegal puppy farm, pet shop or is illegally importing puppies, please contact your local police station.
If, once you have exhausted all these avenues, no action is being taken contact your local and regional media as they may help you expose these failings.
If you decide to expose your case on social media remember to tag in the relevant organisations and individuals from the list above.