Backing to combat the illegal trade
A crack down on the illegal puppy trade has been launched by the Scottish SPCA.
The charity said it had investigated 78 reports of puppy farming, and staff fear Christmas will further fuel demand.
Many illegally bred puppies are sold online through social media or small ad sites, according to the charity.
It estimates 40% of them die before their fifth birthday while 15% get sick or die in the first year.
High demand for pets during lockdown has seen puppy prices rise dramatically, and encouraged illegal traders to scale up their activities.
Scottish SPCA chief supt Mike Flynn: "This has seen a rise in not only the extortionate prices of puppies but also the number of puppies becoming sick or dying because they have been badly bred.
"Calls to our helpline regarding puppy farms and unwell pups almost doubled from September to October this year.
"We are concerned this will continue to rise due to people being sold unwell pups to satisfy public demand. These poor animals are being exploited purely for profit and scant regard is given to their welfare."
Rural Affairs Minister Mairi Gougeon launched the campaign.
She said: "During the current Covid-19 pandemic, regrettably we have seen an increase in illegal puppy sales and trading.
"We need to ensure that everyone understands the consequences of purchasing an illegally bred puppy and follow the important steps to buy their dog safely and responsibly.
"Puppy farms breed misery and public demand is fuelling the trade, which is being facilitated through online adverts and sellers."