Popular 'designer dogs' and puppies being sold for four-figure sums online in Edinburgh

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So-called designer dogs are among those changing hands for four-figure sums

POPULAR puppy breeds are being bought and sold online across Edinburgh in a trade condemned by animal welfare experts.

Howard Bridges warned puppy buyers to be aware

Howard Bridges warned puppy buyers to be aware

So-called designer dogs are among those changing hands for four-figure sums, an Evening News investigation has revealed.

Charities warned prospective pet owners that puppies sold over the internet for quick cash might develop health defects.

“Sadly, many of the animals that arrive at our doors are the victim of irresponsible breeding practices or multiple online sales, allowing behavioural and medical issues to develop or go untreated,” said Howard Bridges, chief executive of Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home.

“The only way we can begin to tackle this issue is to promote responsible breeding practices with the highest welfare standards.”

Charities advise the best way to avoid such problems is to rehome a rescue pet from an animal sanctuary.

Although not a legal requirement, experts advise ensuring that any dogs bought online are registered with the Kennel Club or another similar organisation.

Yet many online adverts offering puppies across the city fail to mention any such accreditation.

They include French bulldog puppies available for £1,200 and Havanese for more than £1,000.

So-called designer dogs such as cockapoos have also been spotted for sale online.

“Unfortunately it’s unlikely that a ban on the advertising of pets for sale online would eradicate the challenges of poor animal welfare, impulse buying of pets and unscrupulous sellers looking to make a profit from selling animals,” added Mr Bridges.

“We would always encourage anyone thinking of buying a dog or cat to first think of rehoming an animal from a local rescue centre.

“If that is not an option for your family, please ensure that you use a reputable, registered breeder so your money doesn’t help fund criminals or the puppy farming trade.”

While puppies advertised online in the Capital are in litters of five or fewer, the Scottish SPCA has led efforts in recent years to crack down on so-called puppy farms.

These large-scale intensive breeding operations see puppies bred for profit – often in horrendous conditions.

Scottish SPCA chief superintendent Mike Flynn said: “The enormity of the industry is due to profit and public demand. The quickest way to halt the supply of illegally bred pups is for public demand to fall.

“If you go to a reputable breeder, you may be waiting over 24 months for a puppy.

“When people find out about the length of wait, they turn to the internet where they can get a puppy immediately.

“This is how the illegal dealers make their money, by being able to match this demand.”