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'Handbag' dog fad fuels puppy farms

Friday February 19th 2016

Dog dealers are turning to puppy farms to feed the escalating demand for "handbag" and "designer" pets, according to the RSPCA.

Its new Puppy Report: Sold a Pup? tells that an estimated 430,000 baby pooches arrive from unlicensed British breeders every year. Public affairs assistant director for the animal charity, David Bowles says that massive commercial farms and foreign traders are helping dealers meet the growing trend.

So-called "handbag" and "designer" cross-breed animals have increasingly captured the public's imagination in recent years, the society says. Pugs, French bulldogs, Yorkshire terriers, shih tzus and Pomeranians are particularly much sought after.

Mr Bowles says legitimate British breeders account for only 70,000 puppies bought each year in the UK. He says this calls into question whether licensed domestic breeders can keep up with the rising demand.

The unlicensed puppy traders remain a step in front of the regulatory bodies, Mr Bowles adds.

Copyright Press Association 2016