A couple from the Honiton area have recently been banned from selling puppies and handed a life-time ban on owning dogs, prompting council warnings on buying puppies.

East Devon District Council (EDDC) has recently had a flurry of enquiries regarding the buying and selling puppies as well as complaints of alleged unlicensed breeders during lockdown.

The authority has been contacted by residents from across the district, including from areas such as Exmouth, Exton, and Newton Poppleford and Whimple as well as further afield.

This means the council’s usual advice and warnings apply even more – residents must be careful when buying a puppy.

Government advice which has just been issued has confirmed that travelling to view a dog is not essential travel and all viewings should be by video.

EDDC is also currently continuing enquiries in a number of areas across their district.

If you are thinking of buying a puppy:

•         Don’t be rushed into buying. Have you researched the breed to ensure it is suitable for you and your family now and into the future as dogs live for many years?

•         You should always ensure you check and see the mother with the puppies and confirm the birth date. For example, you can check the date data on a photo of the new-born pups, as it is illegal to sell a puppy until it is at least eight weeks old.

•         Not all breeders are required to be licenced by a council but you should always check with the local authority before you breed puppies to sell. When buying from registered breeders you also have a reassurance they are inspected and regulated.

•         Ask for proof of any vet checks, vaccinations (where applicable), microchipping, insurances, and/or pedigree papers.

•         Check social media for any reviews or articles about the seller before committing to a purchase.

•         Avoid cash sales and always get a receipt.

Organisations like The Dogs Trust and RSPCA have useful guides to buying along with Government advice https://getyourpetsafely.campaign.gov.uk/ 

If you do purchase a puppy, the council’s advice is that you collect from the home address taking full Covid precautions when there rather than having the seller deliver. 

If you have any concerns or wish to report possible illegal puppy sales please contact environmentalhealth@eastdevon.gov.uk or 01404 515616.

Adopt don’t shop

Another option available to those looking to add a canine companion to their household is to adopt a rescue dog, rather than buy a puppy.

Every year, animal charities provide shelter to thousands of animals in need of good forever homes. By choosing adoption, you’ll not only have the chance to make a friend for life, but you’ll be giving an animal a second chance and helping support the causes that help animals in need.

Pets find themselves without a home for a range of reasons, through no fault of their own. These include animals surrendered by their previous owners, and sadly some who have suffered neglect or cruelty. By adopting an animal in need, you’ll truly be giving a second chance to someone who needs it.

Most animal rescues also undertake health and behaviour assessments, desex, microchip and vaccinate the animals in their care. Any adoption fee you pay will also go towards helping other animals in need.