A CAMPAIGN to help people avoid puppy farmers when buying a pet has been launched by the Scottish Government. A Kennel Club study found one in four people in Scotland consider buying through an online advert or website.

The Buy A Puppy Safely campaign warns that most illegally bred puppies are sold online through social media or small ads sites. The study found a quarter of pups bought online die before they turn five and a third become ill or die in their first year.

The new campaign warns of steps illegal puppy dealers take to deceive buyers, including renting homes to sell the puppies from, faking paperwork and pretending the mother of the pup is at the vets or out when the buyer arrives. It warns farmed puppies can die early, suffer from disease and have behavioural issues, and gives tips to avoid illegal breeders including checking for stolen descriptions in online adverts and asking to see the mother and verify paperwork before purchase.

Launching the campaign in Edinburgh, Rural Affairs Minister Mairi Gougeon (pictured) said: “I know a lot of people will be considering buying a puppy at this time of year, so my message to them is to do your homework first. The most important thing is to see the puppy with its mother and to get the correct paperwork.”