A WARNING has gone out over illegal puppy breeders operating in Kidderminster.

Around 581 adverts for puppies being sold in Worcestershire on sites such as Pets4Homes and Gumtree were from illegal breeders, reports show.

An intelligence report carried out by Worcestershire Regulatory Services identified several illegal dog breeders related to locations across the county including Kidderminster, Worcester, Stourport-on-Severn, and Evesham.

The risk of buying a puppy from an unlicensed breeder is that the animals will have health problems and they will have potentially been raised in poor conditions.

This leaves the buyer with a poorly puppy.

As Christmas approaches, Pip Singleton, Senior Dog Warden and Animal Welfare Officer at WRS, urges buyers to reconsider when rushing to bring a pet home for Christmas.

Pip said: “Of course I would advocate ‘Adopt, Don’t Shop’ every-time and encourage people to give a loving home to an unwanted dog at a rescue centre, where they would have received the right treatment, vaccines and be microchipped.”

So, here are some top tips on the best practice for buying pets and ensuring your precious new additions are from legal breeders:

• Consider getting a rescue animal from a reputable UK rehoming organisation – you can check if the organisation is a member of the Association of Dogs and Cat Homes

• View the animal and its documentation before you buy – if it was born outside the UK it must have either a pet passport or a veterinary certificate.

• Ask to see the local authority licence details for commercial dog breeders.

• Licensed dog breeders must show puppies with their mothers to prospective buyers.

• Speak to your vet if you have any doubts about an animal

• Never buy a puppy or kitten younger than 8 weeks old.

You can contact Worcestershire Regulatory Services if you are concerned about a breeder on 01905 822799.