A NATIONAL campaign to get people to buy pets safely this Christmas has attracted support from council chiefs.

Eastleigh Borough Council is supporting the 'get your pet safely' campaign that is encouraging people to think twice before buying a new pet this Christmas to avoid being sold one by a 'deceitful seller'.

With a national 400% surge in searches for ‘buy a puppy’ expected from mid- November, residents are being urged to look at the seller’s profile and search their name online to avoid being lured in.

The price of puppies is said to have more than doubled during lockdown and with the new national restrictions in place, the council says pet owners need to be alert to the risks involved while they are not permitted to visit the animal in person.

Animals bred in low-welfare conditions can often be separated from their mother too early in their development and this can lead to severe health and behavioural problems resulting in high vet bills.

Cabinet Lead for Environment Cllr Rupert Kyrle said, “Christmas has been a peak period for puppy sales for decades and research has shown this trend continuing.

"I would urge residents to think very carefully before buying a pet and do your research to avoid unscrupulous sellers who take advantage of those looking to buy a new pet especially at this time of year.”

"I don’t think animals make good Christmas presents and that a lot of thought should be given before thinking of getting any pet such as do you have the time to look after it, house, feed and exercise it?"