Warning to ‘watch out for illegal puppy sellers’ in Brighton

People who are considering purchasing a dog by are urged to stay alert to criminal sellers amid an increase in puppy trafficking.

Trade standards officers have appealed to use only reputable breeders or a rescue center.

Demand for puppies has increased during Covid-19 and prices have skyrocketed, according to Brighton and Hove City Council, with popular breeds now selling for thousands of pounds.

“This has seen a strong escalation nationwide in both puppy breeding and puppy smuggling, with puppies often being reared in appalling conditions, increasing the risk of disease and ill health for dogs.” , said a spokesperson for the council.

“There has also been an increase in the number of bogus puppy sellers online, where consumers have paid hundreds of dollars upfront for puppies that they have seen advertised that don’t exist. ”

Lucy’s Law, which was introduced in April last year, means anyone wanting a new puppy in England must buy directly from a breeder or adopt from a verified rescue center.

Common scams involve pretending that a puppy is from a reputable breeder – a process now known as ‘pet fishing’.

If a business sells puppies without a license, they could receive an unlimited fine or be sent to jail for up to six months.

Council licensing committee chair Lizzie Deane said checking your puppy’s history can help stop the problem.

“The illegal breeding of puppies is an appalling activity, often associated with immense cruelty,” he said. “Homeowners often ignore it and would be shocked if they did.

“Puppies raised illegally and under appalling conditions often come with long-term problems of trauma and poor health, which in turn only add up to problems for owners down the road.

“It has long been said that a puppy is for life, not just for Christmas. But anytime you buy a puppy, it’s so important to check their history first so you know your dog’s background.

“Buying a puppy without asking the right questions only serves to promote this heartless and disgusting business when, on the contrary, it should be totally eradicated.”

If you are buying a puppy, Brighton and Hove Trading Standards strongly advise people to:

• buy only from a reputable and recommended retailer

• see the animal with its mother and siblings where it was raised

• ask to see the farmer’s vaccination documentation

• never pay in advance for a puppy, even if the seller insists

• set up a puppy contract with the seller – the contract is designed to encourage responsible breeding and selling

If you have any concerns or information regarding the illegal sale of puppies, please contact the Citizen’s Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133.

This information will then be referred to commercial standards. Callers can remain anonymous.

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