Think before you buy a new puppy urges Council

Published Monday, 08 July 2019

East Northamptonshire Council has warned people to think with their heads, rather than hearts when buying a new puppy following a rise in illegal puppy farms and smuggling across the region.

Cllr Steven North, Leader of East Northamptonshire Council said: “Buyers often think with their hearts when purchasing a new puppy and it can be an emotional time. We urge anyone who is concerned to put emotions to one side, come forward and talk to us before buying a puppy.

ENC work with animal welfare partners, like the Dogs Trust, and are committed to helping people who think they might be purchasing from a puppy farm.

Following recent activity in the local area, we would like to take this opportunity to remind people to follow official guidance from the Dogs Trust and to not be lead by emotions.”

If you are thinking of buying a puppy, the Dogs Trust urges you to consider the following before making any decisions:


  1. Ask to see mum and pup together
  2. Visit your new pup more than once
  3. Get all your pup’s paperwork before going home including vaccinations and ensuring your puppy is microchipped
  4. Walk away if you are at all unsure
  5. Report suspicious sellers or breeders
  6. Take your puppy to your own vet for a health check as soon as possible


  1. Meet anywhere that isn’t the pup’s home
  2. Buy a pup from anyone who can supply various breeds on demand
  3. Buy a pup that looks too young/small or underweight
  4. Feel pressured to buy a puppy
  5. Buy a pup that you suspect has been illegally imported

There is further support for buyers as from April 2020, those wishing to add a four-legged friend to their home can do so with greater confidence thanks to a new law. Lucy’s Law will mean that commercial pet shops and breeders will only be able to sell dogs (and cats) if they have bred them and would-be owners will have to deal directly with breeders.

The new law is named after Lucy, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, who was rescued from a puppy farm having suffered horrific injuries. She had been kept in a cage most of her life and had a curved spine, fused hips, bald patches and epilepsy. Lucy was re-homed and went onto lead a happy but short life and her story has lead to the new law.

If you have any concerns about where a dog was purchased from or would like further information, please contact the Animal Licensing team on 01832 742042.