An investigation into ‘designer dogs’ and animal abuse has been launched after pet ownership soared during the pandemic

Deputies have launched an investigation into “designer dogs” and other types of animal abuse following increased demand for pets during the pandemic.

The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee will investigate a range of pet abuses and is asking experts to present written evidence now.

Puppy farms, high-volume dog breeding facilities, sometimes breeding “designer dogs” and the importation of heavily pregnant female dogs and cats are of great concern, the multi-party committee said.

Designer dogs see two purebreds. dogs Purposely bred to select for the “best” characteristics of each dog, which could include appearance. Some examples are cockapoos, considered one of the original designer breeds, and puggles, a mix of beagle and pug.

But some puppy farms, which are illegal, claim to breed these sought after dogs when in fact they are just strays, many with behavioral problems and genetic diseases.

As people had more time to care for their pets during the COVID-19 lockdowns, there has been a well-documented increase in demand, especially for dogs.

But the committee said evidence suggests these cruel practices increased at a time when unscrupulous breeders tried to take advantage of the situation.

There are additional concerns now that the pandemic has receded, including that people who bought pets now have less time to care for them.

The cost of living crisis has also meant that people can no longer afford to care for their pets, so they are giving them away or giving them up to charity.

This has led to increased pressure on vets and pet charities, so the inquiry will look at what can be done to support their work and ask how the government can end cruel practices and improve pet welfare. .

The committee will also look at mutilation, such as clipping the ears of dogs, which is illegal but still occurs in the UK and on pets bought abroad, and declawing cats, which remains legal.

They will also examine whether current penalties and the likelihood of prosecution for animal cruelty act as a sufficient deterrent.

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Sir Robert Goodwill, Conservative chairman of the committee, said: “Having previously called on Defra to account on the issue of pet smuggling, we now have evidence that abuse of animals for the pet trade is taking place.

“The committee intends to get to the root of what is happening and hear how best to improve pet welfare and crack down on bad practices.

“The unregulated breeding of ‘designer dogs’ in the backyard, not to mention cruel practices like declawing cats for cosmetic purposes, should have no place anywhere, least of all in our country, which is notorious for as a nation of animal lovers”.

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