A WARNING has been issued over the dangers of buying dogs in private sales, after owners have been left with pets with health problems.

With the availability of dogs from rescue centres at an all-time low, buyers are stumping up thousands of pounds to buy ‘designer’ cross-breeds from private sellers, only to find their new pooch is sick, hasn’t been micro-chipped or given the correct vaccinations – if any at all.

Worcestershire's Senior Dog Warden Pip Singleton is urging people to be patient and wait for rescue centres to become populated again or else take extra care when buying a dog from a private home.

She said: “Of course I would advocate ‘Adopt, Don’t Shop’ every-time and encourage people to give a loving home to an unwanted dog at a rescue centre, where they would have received the right treatment, vaccines and be microchipped.

“Especially when now, I am hearing stories from people who have spent, sometimes, thousands of pounds on a cross breed which, when they get home turns out to be poorly and ends up costing even more money.

“But I also understand people want the ‘latest trend’ in dogs and may think they are guaranteed quality as they are spending lots of money. I would urge them to take extra care before handing over the cash, ask for veterinary certificates, check micro-chip records and most of all do research into the breed to ensure it is the right dog for you.

“Better still, wait for the rescue centres to become populated again – and then you can be guaranteed your future pet will have gone through appropriate assessment already.”

For more information on becoming a dog owner or advice on the correct care for your dog, contact the Dog Wardens on 01527 822799.