Dog experts have warned future dog owners in the Northwest following a worrying spike in “virtual puppy buying” during the pandemic.
Nearly a third of respondents (32 percent) in the Northwest admit that it is “normal” and “easier” to meet a puppy virtually rather than in person, according to a new study by The Kennel Club as part of the # BePuppywise campaign.
Research also found that 25 percent of people in the Northwest had difficulty finding a dog in lockdown – something scammers and puppy breeders will have exploited.
Buying a dog practically gives scammers and puppy breeders more leeway to cover up “terrible breeding conditions” and outsmart future pet owners.
Worryingly, research shows that these habits may persist as a third of owners in the area have “clicked and collected” a new pet without first knowing it or having their dog delivered to their door; nearly three-quarters (74 percent of owners) admit they would buy a dog the same way again.
While Covid-19 restrictions once forced virtual meetings and puppy deliveries, more than one in ten (14 percent) owners in the Northwest now agree that “click and collect” – buying a puppy online and paying before meeting or collecting it – does that Buying a puppy after lockdown is reversing the year-long behavior change campaign and rejecting new puppy buying and selling laws introduced by the government last year.
Almost a quarter (24 percent) now feel it is not strictly necessary to collect a puppy and see how it interacts with its mother in its home environment when it is more than two hours away.
Almost one in four (22 percent) owners in the Northwest spent less than two hours researching their new pup and researching where he would get it from, amid rising demand, widespread scams, and more widespread impulse buying during the pandemic.
17 percent admit they cannot find a reputable source of advertised puppies by relying on internet chatter or social media.
“It’s understandable that many of us have developed some pretty harmless bad habits during multiple lockdowns, such as: “But when it comes to buying puppies, those bad habits need to be reversed.
“While the message of always seeing a puppy with its mother in its home environment seemed to have finally gotten through and was reinforced by new laws in 2020, this study shows the alarming impact of the pandemic on the way people expect to buy a puppy. Many now see virtual puppy buying, click and collect, or puppy delivery as the norm – which brings us back to dog welfare and responsible puppy buying.
“Of course, there’s nothing wrong with seeing an ad for a puppy online, but we encourage potential owners to be ‘puppy-wise’ and then always see how the puppy interacts with its mother in real life in its home environment, as Lockdown restrictions are no longer in place, so if a breeder offers to bring the puppy to your home or to take money from you before you’ve even seen the puppy, the alarm bells should be ringing.
“Scammers, rogue breeders and cruel puppy dealers can and will benefit from this dangerous virtual world of puppy buying, with devastating consequences for dogs.”
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