ONE in ten new puppy owners in Southampton believe they have been lied to by the seller of their dog, new figures have revealed.

As part of a new campaign, Dogs Trust has revealed that 21 per cent of puppy buyers in Southampton said they had concerns, and 10 per cent believed they had been lied to by the seller lied to them regarding age, breed, and whether they had been vaccinated and microchipped.

Almost half of buyers were not allowed to see the puppy more than once while 41 per cent were not allowed to see the puppy with their mum.

Dogs Trust has launched a new campaign ‘Don’t Be Dogfished’, warning of deceitful puppy sellers online.

Puppy smuggling is when young dogs are illegally imported into the UK.

The research carried out by the charity has revealed that buyers discovered terrible conditions where puppies were “locked in a small cage away from mum”, were so sick they “very nearly died”, or were “scared of their own shadow and very wary of humans”.

A total of 12 per cent of puppy buyers polled in Southampton said within their first year their puppy had developed significant health or behaviour problems, such as diarrhoea and anxiety, causing terrible suffering for their beloved pet whilst costing them on average almost £500 in additional vet bills.

Some of those people even said their puppy had either died or had to be put to sleep, due to the severity of their condition.

Although more than half of those in the city said they felt puppy smuggling was a big issue in the UK, almost a quarter said they would not know they need to speak to their local Trading Standards if they suspected their puppy was smuggled.

The Don’t Be Dogfished campaign is asking potential new owners to take the following steps to avoid being misled when buying a puppy.

Always see puppy and mum together at their home and make sure to visit more than once.

Ask lots of questions and make sure you see all vital paperwork, such as a puppy contract – which gives lots of information about their parents, breed, health, diet, the puppy’s experiences and more.

If you have any doubts or feel pressured to buy, as hard as it may be, walk away.