People who buy dogs over the internet could risk buying ill or mistreated animals.
Derbyshire County Council trading standards officers are warning members of the public to be cautious about buying pets online after receiving a surge of complaints about animals in poor condition.
In the last 12 months officers have received 48 complaints about animals sold with serious medical and behavioural problems as well as dealers falsely claiming dogs are approved by the Kennel Club.
Sometimes puppies are sold without proper vaccinations and reared in so-called ‘puppy farms’ that keep dogs in cramped conditions which can be breeding grounds for disease.
New research suggests one in five dogs bought online die before they’re six months old.
In Derbyshire the average amount spent by people who have bought these animals is £675. Anyone who has concerns over the welfare of dogs they have purchased should contact the RSPCA Cruelty Line on 0300 1234 999.