Dales animal-lovers are being warned that puppies bought over the internet could be ill or mistreated.
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.
Derbyshire County Council Deputy Cabinet Member for Health and Communities Cllr Ellie Wilcox said: “Our advice to people who want to buy pedigree dogs is to purchase from an assured Kennel Club breeder and always go and visit the dog in its home with its mother.”
Anyone who has concerns over the welfare of dogs they have purchased should contact the RSPCA Cruelty Line on 0300 1234 999.