With an estimated 122% increase in complaints received by the RSPCA over the last five years, a premium on pedigree animals could be behind the rise.
Competitions such as Crufts showcase purebred dogs from a variety of breeds but a lack of awareness on the part of those looking to buy an animal may be helping to boost the trade in trafficking.
Andrew Bucher, Chief Veterinary Officer at MedicAnimal, the UK’s leading online pet healthcare retailer, said:
“While Crufts and the Kennel Club are totally aware of the issues regarding the trafficking of animals and the resulting genetic health problems associated with puppy farming, the general public may not be as familiar with the illicit trade in animals.
“Illegally imported breeds are often not properly vaccinated or wormed in addition to being back-bred, and in some cases animals have been put down as the new owners are unable to afford the resulting quarantine fees.
“For those looking to buy a new puppy, particularly for purebreds, people should ideally only buy from a reputable UK Kennel Club dealer. Outside of the UK it can become more difficult, but prospective owners should try to establish the origins of the puppy and the validity of the vaccination records and their pet passports.”