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The Scottish government has launched a public awareness campaign designed to throw a spotlight on the ‘devastating consequences’ of illegal puppy farming.

Devised by The Leith Agency in concert with the Scottish SPCA and other animal welfare charities, the campaign incorporates a cinema ad directed by Gordon Napier as well as photography by Euan Myles.

Angela Bathgate, senior marketing manager at the Scottish government, said: “Unfortunately you’re more likely to buy an illegally bred puppy than you think. Most illegally bred puppies are sold online through social media or small ad sites, with 1 in 4 pups bought online dying before they reach their fifth birthday and 1 in 3 getting sick or dying in their first year.”

Gillian Howell, group account director at the Leith Agency, added: “No one sets out to buy an illegally bred puppy, but the reality is that it’s far easier to get caught out than people expect. In this campaign we set out to reach people with a hard hitting message that brings home the consequences of puppy farming.”

It is hoped the campaign will encourage prospective pet owners to do their research before purchasing a pup online to ensure it comes from a good home.