Buying pet from puppy farm could cost you £1,500 in first year, study warns

Buying a puppy from a dodgy breeder could land you with a vet’s bill of £1,500 in the first year alone, a study warns.

And in severe cases, bad conditions on puppy farms can lead to illnesses and complication costing up to £5,000 to treat – and even mean the pooch being put down.

The findings from a poll of vets have today been released by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to coincide with a campaign to help pet-lovers carry out checks before buying a puppy or kitten.

The move comes in the run-up to the introduction next month of Lucy’s Law, which will ban the sale of puppies and kittens by third party dealers including pet shops and online traders.

The ban marks a huge victory in The Mirror’s campaign to end so-called puppy farming by commercial breeders with abysmal welfare standards.


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“I am delighted that a ban on third party sales of puppies and kittens is coming into force – it is a crucial piece of legislation that will help us tackle the abhorrent and heart-breaking trade of pets,” said animal welfare minister Lord Goldsmith.

“Our campaign will help raise awareness of the dangers associated with buying pets online and deceitful sellers.

“The animals reared on puppy farms are often in awful conditions which can lead to chronic health problems, behavioural issues, and, in the most tragic cases, death.


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“This simply has to stop and the public can do its bit to help.

“We urge anyone thinking about getting a pet to do the right thing.

“Do thorough research and ensure you go to a reputable breeder in the UK.”


Lucy’s Law will mean that breeders will have to sell directly to the public rather than hiding behind third party sellers.

Tips for spotting the dodgy breeders include:

  • Beware of anyone selling multiple litters;
  • Check a seller’s contact details to see if they are being used on multiple website and adverts.
  • Check the animal’s age – puppies and kittens must not be sold under eight weeks old.

“It’s vital that prospective pet owners take responsibility for where they get their pets from and avoid puppy-farms and unscrupulous dealers,” said Christine Middlemiss, UK Chief Veterinary Officer.

“The campaign launched today sets out the simple steps that can be taken by the public to spot the warning signs and ensure their puppy or kitten is given the best start in life.”

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