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Buying a dog at Christmas
15 December 2016
A dog’s for life, not just for Christmas
Medway Council has teamed up with the RSPCA to offer advice to
people considering buying a dog this Christmas.
The council’s stray dog service, which regularly takes in dogs
throughout the year, is supporting the RSPCA’s advice of urging
people to consider the long-term commitment required to properly
care for an animal and is reminding people to be cautious of where
they buy a dog from.
This year the council’s Trading Standards team launched an
initiative to tackle illegal dog importation, advising people of
the implications of buying a dog brought into the UK illegally and
urging dog owners and vets to report the issue. Sometimes dogs that
have been brought into the UK have fake documentation and have not
been vaccinated against rabies, or are too young to have had their
jabs. In the lead up to Christmas prospective dog owners are urged
to get the animal from a reputable breeder.
Advice on buying a puppy is available from many sources, such as
the RSPCA Puppy
Contract. The RSPCA has a number of rescue centres for
people who are in a position to give an animal a loving home.
However, the charity does not advise giving a pet as a present,
unless it is known that the person receiving the pet is willing to
take on the responsibility, can afford to do so and can give them
everything they need to be happy and healthy throughout their
Tips on buying a dog
If you are considering buying a dog, here are the top tips:
- Purchase your puppy from a reputable breeder.
- Ask to see the puppy with its mother and the rest of the
litter. Be suspicious if the seller won’t comply with this
- If the seller lives, or the puppy was born, outside of the UK
the puppy must have a passport or vet certificate. The
documentation must confirm that the puppy was vaccinated against
rabies at the correct age and document the veterinary practice
where this was carried out. If in doubt, contact a vet.
- Never allow the puppy to be delivered to your home address or
meet the seller to collect the puppy (for example, in a car
- Never pay for the puppy in advance.
Buying an illegally imported dog can be costly
Cllr Jane Chitty, Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder overseeing
Trading Standards said: “We are continuing to raise awareness of
the issue as many people do not realise that buying an illegally
imported dog can prove to be costly. Dogs that have been brought
into the country illegally will need to be quarantined while they
are fully vaccinated to help prevent the spread of diseases and to
keep the animal healthy. It is not uncommon for a dog to be given
as a Christmas gift so I would ask people to carefully research
Cllr Rupert Turpin, Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder in charge
of community wardens, said: “Our wardens recovered 650 stray dogs
in Medway last year, the majority being returned to their owners
along with advice on how to prevent this distressing occurrence,
which can be very dangerous for the dog. Microchipping is now a
legal requirement and it helps make the return of a stray dog
easier and cheaper for the owner, as kennel fees are usually
avoided and the situation is more quickly resolved. Reporting a
stray is easy via our
website or by phoning 01634 333333, and our
very successful Facebook Page “Medway Council Stray
Dog Service” will contain a picture of a stray dog within hours
of its discovery, if not sooner."
Microchip your dog
The RSPCA is also encouraging dog owners to ensure their pet is
microchipped. A spokesperson said: “We believe compulsory
microchipping, if implemented effectively, could lead to
significant benefits to dog owners and their pets - for example
reuniting them more quickly if they become lost or stray.
“A critical issue will be ensuring people keep their contact
details and information up-to-date on the databases, for example if
they change address, phone number etc. This has been a real
challenge in the past.”