The puppy trade is thriving.
The growing demand for purebred puppies by private buyers, pet shops and puppy dealers has contributed to an increase in the number of puppies bred and transported illegally into the UK. Especially during lockdown.
Most of the puppies coming from Eastern European countries are offered cheaply via internet ads on sites like Gumtree, Facebook and Pets4Homes, with fake information that hides the depressing reality behind this trade.
In the mass breeding business dogs are generally not housed or treated well. Nor are the mothers or puppies provided with the medical care they need. Bred in remote and filthy puppy farms, these tiny pups may be separated too early from their abused mothers.
When transported to the UK, they usually are accompanied by fake documents with false birth dates and vaccination stickers.
Families often buy sick puppies without knowing it, because they are not vaccinated and sometimes, they carry genetic diseases and serious behavioural problems. In many cases the new owners are faced with high veterinary costs and, tragically, the kindest option for an unwell pup is often euthanasia.
Unscrupulous dealers are causing this tremendous animal suffering across Europe and are responsible for bringing shock and desolation to many families looking for a new companion. But, also pose a huge risk to human health as many puppy diseases are zoonotic, which just like Covid-19, means they can be passed from animal to human.
FOUR PAWS is now stepping in to help and has joined forces with the prosecution charity Animal Protection Services to tackle illegal breeders profiting in the UK. Today we are launching a new online reporting system where you can share your story.
If you have been a victim of this cruel trade or if you have witness something suspicious, we would like to hear from you. We can offer you support, take your story and our team of investigators and expert prosecutors will seek justice for you, your family and the puppies that suffered and take illegal breeders to court.