People planning on buying a new puppy this Christmas have been sent a warning over where they buy their new pets.

Councils have warned people not to buy from irresponsible or criminal sellers in the lead up to Christmas.

The festive season is often a popular time to buy pets but the Local Government Association (LGA) says people should be cautious of who they are buying from, particularly when agreeing a sale online.

While there are many responsible breeders in the UK, the rise in popularity over Christmas continues to attract irresponsible and criminal sellers who treat animals poorly.

The LGA said council teams work extremely hard to try to prevent sales by illegal and irresponsible sellers, but can often face difficulties with capacity, exacerbated when there is a surge in demand for pets.

Local environmental health teams are responsible for inspecting the local takeaway, investigating noise nuisance and monitoring air quality, as well as licensing animal breeders.

Warning to anyone planning to buy a dog this Christmas

Nesil Caliskan, chair of the LGA’s safer and stronger communities board, said: “Buying pets from licensed sellers ensures the animals meet certain regulations and will have come from safe conditions. It also means that the seller can be traced if any issues arise after purchase.

“As demand rises, the number of people looking to profit does too, and councils need increased, specialist resources in this area to ensure illegal traders get caught before any animals are harmed.”

How to spot a responsible dog breeder

The LGS listed a number of ways people can tell they are buying their pets froma responsible breeder.

These include:

  • Able to provide a local authority licence if they are breeding and selling as a business.
  • Having genuine paperwork for vaccinations, microchipping and any test results.
  • Being available for detailed phone conversations about the dog.

Other signs of reputable sellers include them arranging visits to meet the puppy along with its mother and siblings.