Buying a puppy has never been so easy: one click is all that it takes. Thousands are sold online every year. Most of them come from puppy farms, either in the UK or abroad; online sales are the perfect way to hide the dreadful conditions the pups are born into.

With one in ten new puppies winding up in rescue within a month, rescues are often forced to pick up the pieces, regularly warning potential dog owners against purchasing a puppy online who might turn out to have serious health and/or behavioural problems. The first dog to arrive in Battersea in 2018 was an unwanted Christmas gift purchased online.

To add insult to injury, with so many puppies readily available online rescue dogs have a harder time finding a home. Battersea has seen the number of people adopting rescue dogs decline as it struggles to compete with pets for sale on online marketplaces and social media, with Brands Hatch rehoming 13 percent fewer dogs in 2017 than 2016.

Now staff at Battersea Brands Hatch are appealing for a home for four-year-old Greyhound Serena, who has been in rescue for 260 days and counting – against an average stay of just 52 days.

Anna Hemmings, Centre Manager at Battersea Brands Hatch, said, “Serena is a wonderful dog and will make someone very happy. A typical Greyhound, she has short bursts of energy where she wants to zoom around but then is very happy to relax on the sofa for the rest of the day.

“Serena would be the ideal first pet for anyone thinking about rehoming a dog, but it’s very difficult as a charity trying to compete with the mass online sales of dogs and other pets. Animals like Serena are paying the price for people buying dogs online instead of giving a rescue animal a second chance.”

The campaign for Lucy’s Law is looking to make third-party puppy sales illegal, thus crippling the sales of puppy-farmed pups online. A petition for the law, backed by Dogs Today, has surpassed 120,000 signatures and will be debated in Parliament on 21 May.

Images by Battersea.

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