Problem

The puppy contract

The BVA Animal Welfare Foundation and the RSPCA have developed the puppy contract to help puppy buyers avoid many of the problems that can arise when buying a dog from an irresponsible breeder. It is a record that the seller has bred and cared for the puppy to the highest possible standards. People considering buying a puppy can use the information in the contract to make more informed decisions on whether they want to purchase the puppy they have seen.

What is the puppy contract?

  • Puppy Information Pack — the seller should complete this before the pup is sold. It contains information about the puppy and its parents. For example, it will include details of any relevant screening tests the puppy’s parents have had and the experiences the puppy has had to prepare it for life in a new home.
  • Contract — for the sale and purchase of the puppy. The seller and buyer sign two copies of the contract and PIP so both can keep a signed copy for future reference. The contract makes clear the seller and the buyer’s responsibilities in relation to the puppy’s health and welfare. Because the PIP is referenced in the contract, it has legal force, meaning there are legal consequences if any of the information provided is inaccurate. The breeder signs the contract to say that all of the information they have given in the PIP is true and complete. The buyer signs to say that they understand the information that has been given to them in the PIP and they intend to meet the puppy’s future health and welfare needs.
  • Guidance notes – these explain why it’s important for an owner to know and understand the information in the PIP before buying a puppy. They also explain the meanings behind some of the answers a breeder/seller could give. The guidance notes are numbered and linked to the corresponding PIP question. Breeders/sellers should also reference the guidance notes when they’re filling out the PIP.

The key difference between the puppy contract and other similar documents is that it requires the seller to disclose to the buyer information about the puppy to a higher level of detail. This means buyers can make an informed choice about the puppy before they take it on, and the costs and responsibilities that go with that.

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