Submitted by Steve on 16:03, 28th Aug, 2019 | 0

If you're thinking of getting a puppy, it's important to do your homework first. GSPCA Welfare & Behaviour Manager Lorna Prince shares this guidance which was put together in association with other animal welfare groups, Defra and the British Veterinary Association to help prospective owners choose the right puppy for them:

1. Carry out your research first. Different dogs have different needs and temperaments depending on, for example, their age, breed, health status, gender, and past experiences. A vet will also be able to give you information and advice on this.

2. Take into account the average lifespan of the dog you would like to own and the estimated costs of lifetime care (both financially and in terms of your own time) before buying. Consider asking a pet insurance company how much it will cost to insure the type of dog you are considering taking on.

3. Make sure that the dog you choose is suitable for you, your home and your lifestyle. A vet will also be able to give you information and advice on the health problems that certain breeds are prone to; you can also get advice from the organisations associated with this document.

4. Bear in mind your responsibilities under the Control of Dogs Ordinance 1992 and Section 8 of the Animal Welfare (Guernsey) Ordinance 2012 which outlines your basic requirements as a pet owner  To see links to Guernsey laws please visit

5. For pedigree puppies, ensure that any recognised registration papers and the parents’ hereditary disease screening certificates, where appropriate, are in order and available at the time you buy the puppy. Find out more about getting a pedigree dog by visiting Please note that Kennel Club registration applies to the lineage of the dog and not the quality of the breeding establishment; this is why a visit is so important.

6. Avoid buying animals with exaggerated physical features that are likely to affect their quality of life, and don’t base your decision on appearance alone. You should prioritise health, welfare and temperament over appearance when choosing a dog.

7. Always see your puppy with its real mother in the environment where it was raised, and ask to see its brothers and sisters, if they are still there. Make sure that you know who the father is and that you get an opportunity to contact its owner. Ensure that the parent(s) and the puppies are happy and healthy and that the environment is suitable to meet all the puppy’s welfare needs.

8. Ask to see the puppy’s health records and ensure that these are available by the time you buy the puppy (this includes any records of vaccination, worming and flea treatment as well as other veterinary treatment). Also check that the puppy’s parents have taken appropriate health screening tests relevant to the breed and ask if the puppy or its parents have received any veterinary attention relating to an inherited problem. These should be available for you, or your vet, to take a look at.

9. Make sure your puppy stays with its mother until a suitable age. This may vary, but normally would be until 8 weeks of age.

10. It is important to ensure that your puppy is well socialised and has had appropriate good experiences. Ideally, your puppy should also have had good experiences with people, some other types of animals and in the places and situations it is likely to encounter as an adult, including a normal home environment. But be aware that not all socialisation with other puppies is positive. Try not to put your puppy in situations where it can become afraid.

During the process if you have concerns about the individual selling the animals or the organization you need to speak to the relevant organization or authorities.  If you are unsure you can always speak to the local police authority but here is a list of possible numbers for different areas.

In Guernsey we are here 24/7 at the GSPCA and have investigated animal cruelty, neglect and given advice for over 146 years and you can get in touch by calling 01481 257261, email [email protected] or popping into the Shelter in St Andrews on Rue des Truchots.

Here is a link to the GSPCA Animal Welfare page 

If you are in England or Wales the RSPCA helpline is 0300 1234 999

The Scottish SPCA number is 03000 999 999

The Ulster SPCA number is 028 3025 1000

The Jersey SPCA number is 01534 724331

The Manx SPCA helpline is 01624 851672

The Alderney Animal Welfare Society number is 01481 822616

If you are looking to adopt or purchase a puppy or dog from outside of the UK you have to consider the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS), Balai Directive, laws and legislation and be extremely mindful of the possible diseases endemic in those countries.  Some countries have diseases that could be carried by an animal that could pose a risk to those living in Guernsey.

Puppy Farming and unscrupulous organisations are known to operate in many European countries and it is extremely important to ensure to report any concerns to the relevant authorities and that you do not support this cruel industry.

For information on traveling with pets in and out of Guernsey please see this helpful link -

The GSPCA help 30 to 40 dogs on average each year to find new homes and to help a rescue dog please find out more by visiting – 

The GSPCA is a member of the Association of Dog and Cat Homes which is made up of over 140 members and we work with them to help them in a number of ways. To see UK, Irish, Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey members who work together to help dogs and cats to find homes please visit

Steve Byrne GSPCA Manager said “We have seen a number of concerns in the last week about what can happen when buying a new puppy.”

“It is very important that anyone looking for a new pet follows a number of steps to ensure the animal has been brought keeping in mind the 5 freedoms and their care and if there are concerns that they are reported to the relevant authority or organization.”

“For animal welfare concerns in Guernsey we are have been investigating cruelty and neglect and educating and supporting the community for over 146 years.”

“We have helped puppies from Puppy Farms like the 25 Slovakian puppies stopped by Customs in 2015 to the local rescue animals that come through the doors.”

“There are approximately 500 new dogs owned each year in Guernsey meaning there are many families and individuals looking for a new pet every year.”

“We have spoken to families that have been duped out of funds for trying to buy animals online to those that have met people at service stations resulting in owning a poorly puppy that were likely from a Puppy Farm.”

“If you don’t follow the helpful advice from the GSPCA and other organisations you could be supporting those that are dealing in pets for money and not the animals best interests.”

Lorna Prince GSPCA Welfare & Behaviour Manager said "Over the years, including very recently, we have looked into concerns regarding breeders in Guernsey but sadly the current legislation allows for the breeding of dogs without a licence.”

“As heart breaking as it can be if you come across anything concerning please do not buy the animal but instead contact an Animal Welfare Charity, the States Veterinary Officer or the Police to raise your concerns.”

“Puppies make people A LOT of money, especially when demand is as high as it is in Guernsey.”

“They are no more than a commodity and unscrupulous breeders will use many techniques and guises to encourage you to part with your money." 

Steve continued “The main piece of legislation is the Guernsey Animal Welfare Ordinance 2012 which has schedules still to follow which will licence activities such as breeding, other activities and pet businesses.”

“The 2012 ordinance vastly improved the previous law and as with all laws they need to be reviewed to ensure they are up to date.”

“Some feel that the current laws do not go far enough and for those that feel this is the case you can contact Guernsey Deputies or States Vet through the website.”

“There is a huge amount that goes on with animal welfare between charities, the States Vet and the other authorities.”

“Often for legal reasons there are things that aren't put into the public domain as social media can cause many issues with investigations.”

“The GSPCA works very closely with the authorities and other organisations to prevent animal cruelty in Guernsey and promote kindness to animals.”

“When looking for a new pet we would ask those looking to please think of a rescue pet and if anyone has any questions please do get in touch.”

To help new dog owners the GSPCA offers positive reinforcement behaviour and training classes for puppies. Please contact the Shelter on 257261 or email [email protected] for more information. please visit 


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If you would like to help at one of our upcoming events please give Michelle a call on 257261 or email [email protected]

To see some of the animals looking for homes at the GSPCA please visit –

Another way to support us is our on site Charity Shop and refreshment area and to find out more please visit -

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On Tuesday 10th September we have a volunteer induction evening and for more information and additional induction dates please visit or call 257261

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For lots more ideas on how you can support the shelter and the animals in our care then please visit our fundraising page

To find out more on trips, talks and our education work please email [email protected] or call 01481 257261



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