Aiming to shed light on the issue of illicit puppy breeding, Coronation Street features a hard-hitting storyline that delves into the reality of the underground puppy trade.

In collaboration with the RSPCA, the soap opera has worked on an impactful narrative to draw attention to the scourge of illegal puppy farming.

The storyline follows the suspicions of character Terry Fensley (played by Jamie Foster), who is believed to be engaging in illegal puppy breeding and sales from a precinct property. Resident Evelyn Plummer (Maureen Lipman) and her daughter Cassie (Claire Sweeney) become wary after witnessing Terry’s mistreatment of his dog near a local cafe. Their investigations lead them to Terry’s house, revealing a room filled with crates of puppies and a stash of cash—a depiction mirroring many illicit puppy operations flagged to the RSPCA and authorities across England and Wales.

The narrative is reflective of the harsh reality faced by numerous underground puppy breeding operations reported to the RSPCA. With rescue centres overflowing and rehoming rates plummeting by 30% since 2019, charities like the RSPCA urge individuals seeking a furry companion to adopt rather than shop. They advocate the use of resources such as the RSPCA’s ‘Find a Pet’ website to find the ideal companion.

The Puppy Contract

The RSPCA, highlighting the repercussions of illicit puppy breeding, emphasised the need for awareness and responsible pet purchasing decisions. They recommend interacting with responsible breeders who willingly provide details of their local authority license and arrange meetings with puppies, their mother, and siblings at their birthplace. The charity also endorses tools like the Puppy Contract, which aids in identifying legitimate breeders and ensuring responsible practices.

In line with their Animal Kindness Index, which highlights the public’s concerns, the RSPCA asserts that ending harmful dog breeding practices and halting illegal puppy trade rank high among the issues that deeply concern the public.

The RSPCA commended Coronation Street for its meticulous attention to detail in portraying the storyline and safeguarding the welfare of animals during filming. The soap’s producers were praised for collaborating closely with the RSPCA to maintain accuracy in the narrative, and also to ensure proper animal welfare on set.