In 2008 the animal charity received just 11 reports about puppy farming in the region compare to 117 in 2018.

In the whole of England the number of puppy farm reports has risen from 890 in 2008 to a huge 4,357 in 2018.

Despite the huge increase in reports there has been a decrease in the amount of dogs rescued from such farms since 2015. Last year just 312 dogs were saved from ‘puppy trade’ by the RSPCA.

RSPCA dog welfare expert Lisa Hens said: “It is distressing that we are still seeing so many reports about puppy farms but part of this increase is probably due to people being more savvy about what to look out for when getting a pet.”

Now the animal charity is urging families to be cautious when taking on a new dog.

Laura said: “We know there’s a spike in people searching for puppies and buying dogs at the beginning of the school holidays but we’d urge families to carefully consider whether getting a dog is right for them. Dogs are a huge commitment and need lots of time and attention, even once summer is over and the kids are back at school. If you do have the time and money for a dog then we’d urge you to consider rescuing instead of buying a puppy. Not only will this give a rescue dog a chance at finding his forever home but it’ll also save any potential heartache caused by unwittingly buying a dog from a puppy farm.”

Across England there has been a year on year increase in puppy farming reports since 2008 as unscrupulous breeders cash in on demand for specific breeds – some of which can sell for hundreds or even thousands of pounds.

Lisa said: “After the RSPCA campaigned for years, the Government last year finally introduced tougher licensing regulations around the selling of animals – including breeding and selling dogs – which we hope will help crackdown on this multi-million pound industry. The Government has also committed to a ban on the third-party sales of puppies and kittens which, alongside tougher licensing conditions will also help to tackle puppy farms and dodgy dealers. However, we also need to educate the public to ensure that they only buy puppies from responsible breeders who prioritise the health and welfare of their dogs over profit.”