True stories of the illegal puppy tradea much-loved puppy who was gone too soon

Illegal puppy breeding is real and brings desolation to British families more often than you know


Since April 2021, FOUR PAWS has been receiving hundreds of reports from victims of the illegal puppy trade. From 447 reports, 12% concerned sick or deceased puppies. Today were focusing on the case of Kieran from Shropshire, who went through a terrible experience due to unlicensed breeders who took advantage of his desire of finding a new companion for his family.  

We purchased an English bulldog puppy that sadly died... we since found out that the breeder is not licensed and have seen at least 10 adverts in the last two months for different litters.

Kieran’s family only had a few precious days to enjoy the company of their new puppy, Sully. But he sadly came from an unlicensed breeder and probably hadn’t received the proper vet care during the early stage of his life which led to his life being tragically cut short.

Many families like Kieran’s do not realise they are buying from an unlicensed breeder until it is too late. Cute adverts hide the reality behind the intensive puppy breeding and the shocking end that families might face if we continue to support this trade.  

These breeders often keep puppies in poor conditions, without providing them crucial veterinary care during the first weeks of their life. Kieran also questions the conditions the puppies are reared in and adds: "I also believe the dogs are kept somewhere with little to no natural light and where they don’t have freedom to run about and explore. It makes me so upset to think of the condition that our dog spent those early weeks in and just how many others may face the same bleak fate.”  

There are countless similar stories to Kieran's, like these three other families in Swindon who had to say goodbye to their puppies after being scammed by an illegal puppy dealer. 

FOUR PAWS UK has received 337 reports of suspicious activity and poor breeding conditions, but many more puppies are being bred without care and unfortunately will face a tragic end like Kieran’s puppy. Recently, almost 40 dogs were rescued from a puppy farm during a police and RSPCA raid, and two people have been arrested in Leiston in connection with illegal dog breeding.  

Animal Charity

FOUR PAWS always advocates for adoption and for giving a chance of a home to a rescued puppy. But if you still chose buying over adoption, make sure you follow these 10 steps before making a purchase so you can look out for any red flags.  

Together we can fight this cruel trade and prevent the suffering of puppies like Sully. If you have also bought a sick puppy without knowing it, please share your story with us through our online tool STOP ILLEGAL PUPPY DEALERS.

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.   

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