The RSPCA has welcomed moves by specialist pet insurer Petplan to dump its online-only dog breeder approval scheme and carry out telephone interviews with those applying.

Previously any breeder or supplier of puppies could apply for and get accepted onto the Petplan Breeder Scheme, which gave them a veneer of respectability and the right to advertise their dogs on the Petplan website. Accordingly a number of unscrupulous dog dealers, keeping dogs in appalling conditions and with a very high death rate, signed up.

Earlier this year police and RSPCA officers raided one “puppy farm” in Solihull approved for the Petcare scheme, and found “horrific” evidence of puppies being badly treated, resulting in owner Sean Kerr, 52, being given a six month jail sentence and ordered to pay £30,000 costs for causing unnecessary suffering.

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