True stories from the illegal puppy trade

Luna’s story reminds us why adoption should be the first choice if you are looking for a pet this Christmas


Another sad story we shouldn’t need to share with you but FOUR PAWS, as well as Luna’s owner Sarah, believe that by sharing these real stories, we can help to put an end to the illegal breeding of puppies.

Sarah, from Nottinghamshire, saw her puppy online for the first time, but soon found out once she arrived that not all was as it seemed: “As soon as we got her home, we found out she had sticky eyes and showed issues with her stomach by having bloody stools.”

Animal Charity

Luna was a mini dachshund x jack russell. She only lived for two weeks in her new home, before her family was forced to make the difficult decision to put her to sleep.

Puppies are often bred in low welfare conditions by unlicensed breeders who only care about making money out of these tiny puppies. In the case of Luna, Sarah also discovered that the breeder wasn’t feeding her properly, she adds: “she was on adult food mixed with rice pudding, contributing for her stomach issues.” 

In fact, according to Defra’s Christmas Petfished campaign, a new survey showed that a quarter (27%) of UK cat or dog owners say they noticed a suspicious seller or advert while purchasing their last cat or dog. In addition, from 540 reports received by FOUR PAWS, more than 80% reported suspicious ads or suspicious activities related to the illegal puppy trade.

It is alarming how many puppies become sick or even die, due to poor veterinary and welfare care during the early stages of their life. Unfortunately, this was the tragic end of Luna, bringing heartbreak to Sarah’s family.

By the time we obtained a referral to a vet that carried blood products for a transfusion she was already too weak, so we had to put her to sleep.”

Animal Charity

However, according to the Defra’s campaign, a survey of British Veterinary Association (BVA) and British Veterinary Nursing Association (BVNA) members found nearly two thirds (68%) of pet owners were unaware that the clinical and behavioural signs of their pet may be linked to low welfare breeding practices.

With the holidays just around the corner, many families will rush again to find a new companion for their family. Cute pictures of puppies advertised online can easily tempt new owners but we urge you to be alert and to consider adoption over purchasing a puppy - giving rescued dogs a new chance of a family.

Hopefully, stories like Luna’s will make people think before they click.

If you too were a victim of the illegal puppy trade, or know someone who is, let us know by filling in our online reporting tool. Together we can fight against this cruel trade and stop the suffering of many other puppies like Luna.

Animal Charity - Joana

Joana Fernandes

UK Investigations Consultant

Joana supports the UK investigations Team by managing illegal puppy trade cases reported to the FOUR PAWS UK. She also liaises with the Communication Team helping to raise awareness about this issue. She has over five years experience as a researcher and project assistant in wildlife conservation and animal welfare, both in the UK and internationally.   

Share now!