Leeds Dogs Trust issues warning over puppy scam - how to spot the signs of dog smuggling

Leeds Dogs Trust has put out a warning to people looking to get a puppy not to fall for 'Dogfishing' scams'.

Thursday, 22nd October 2020, 9:08 am
Don't get Dogfished: How to spot the signs of puppy scams online

The charity is urging owners to be vigilant against puppy scams as they continue to rescue smuggled puppies from traders

37% of puppy owners in Yorkshire and Humber didn’t do any research before buying their dog, according to data from the new Choosing My Dog study.

The 2019 study surveyed 2,908 people across the UK who had bought a puppy in the last seven years.

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Don't get Dogfished: How to spot the signs of puppy scams online

This figure included 213 people from Yorkshire and Humber, who are leaving themselves vulnerable to being scammed or inadvertently purchasing dogs smuggled from abroad.

Between the start of lockdown - 23rd March - and the end of September, the charity has rescued 140 puppies that were illegally imported into the country, as well as 14 heavily pregnant mums that gave birth to 56 puppies in total.

These pups were going to be advertised online as UK-bred dogs, and if sold they would have fetched an estimated £381,000 for the smugglers.

The data reveals the average price for a puppy of each of these breeds increased by:

89% for Dachshunds – £1,838 in June compared to £973 in March

67% for Chow Chows – £1,872 in June compared to £1,119 in March

31% for English Bulldogs – £2,140 in June compared to £1,637 in March

52% for French Bulldogs – £1,905 in June compared to £1,251 in March

56% for Pugs – £1,064 in June compared to £684 in March

Dogs Trust’s Veterinary Director Paula Boyden said: “Sadly, we continue to see more and more heart-breaking examples of puppies being illegally imported into the country. Puppy smugglers are making vast profits by exploiting innocent puppies, breeding and transporting them in appalling conditions to sell onto unsuspecting dog lovers.

“Unfortunately, it is all too easy to be hoodwinked by these deceitful traders. That is why it is so important to do your research before buying a dog so you can do everything you can to buy your puppy responsibly.

“There has never been a more urgent need to end the appalling puppy smuggling trade. Enough is enough, Government must take immediate action as too many puppies are suffering at the hands of cruel traders and too many dog lovers are being left to pick up the pieces. Every day of delay leads to preventable suffering for these poor puppies.”

To avoid being Dogfished it’s recommended to see the puppy and it’s mother before purchase, despite a worrying 29% of people saying they only saw their puppy on the day they took them home.

It’s also recommended not to pay a deposit upfront before seeing the puppy in person, as well as reporting any odd behaviour from the seller and walking away from the sale.

Dogs Trust is also calling on the government to help put an end to puppy smuggling, asking them to raise the minimum age for puppies to be imported to the UK to six months and to bring in tougher penalties for smuggling puppies to deter dishonest sellers.

For more information and advice about how to avoid being misled when buying a dog online, search ‘Dogfished’ or visit www.dogstrust.org.uk/dogfished.