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What You Need to Know About Illegal Online Puppy Sellers

The most common tricks to avoid when looking for a puppy


If you want to buy a puppy online you need to be aware of the many illegal traders who want to trick you into buying from them. Here are the frequently used tactics you should avoid:

Tricks When Advertising Puppies for Sale

  • Claiming the puppies are ‘home-bred,’ when they are imported for sale from abroad, often bred on puppy farms in Eastern Europe
  • Claiming to be selling in the puppies’ best interests – they may say that there are “better homes” in the buyer’s country, which is why they were imported
  • Claiming the puppies have been ‘rescued’ and urgently need a home
  • Advertising the puppies for sale in a location that changes when you have committed to buy the puppy
  • Having multiple accounts for the same seller online. They may have several accounts on a single classified ad site, using different names or phone numbers to sell multiple litters of imported puppies
  • Puppies advertised in advance of arrival in the country, requiring a deposit before the puppies can be delivered from abroad
  • Ads for the same puppy, or by the same seller, may appear in several locations
  • Fake photographs of the puppies and their mother
  • Claiming the puppy has good breed lines or is in good health with the opposite being true
  • Feigning legitimacy through paid-for promotions, such as boosting their ads on a classified site, to attract a bigger number of customers
  • Claiming the puppy is 8 weeks old when the puppy is younger
  • Claiming the puppy is 15/16 weeks old (the legal age for importing) but the puppy is younger
  • Providing little information in the ad online including no mention of the mother
  • In extreme cases some fraudulent sellers even deal in non-existent puppies requiring a deposit and then disappearing without a trace

Tricks During the Sale of the Puppy

  • Suggesting meeting the buyer in a public place, like a car park, service station etc. to handover the puppy
  • Offering to deliver the puppy directly to the home of the buyer
  • Delivering the puppy to the border of the buyer’s country for the buyer to collect the puppy avoiding any legal consequences of selling an illegally imported puppy
  • Claiming the responsibility for microchipping and registering the puppy is the buyer’s responsibility (in several European countries this is the breeder’s legal responsibility)
  • Not registering the puppy’s microchip with a pet microchip registration company before sale
  • Claiming that vaccinating the puppy is the buyer’s responsibility. The breeder should arrange the puppy’s first vaccines before sale. 
  • Claiming that the mother of the puppy is not available, for example she is at the vet, visiting someone, needed a break from the puppies, or giving any other reason
  • Using a fake home (and fake mother dog) to sell the puppies to support the claim that the puppies have been home-bred 
  • Claiming the puppy is just sleepy when they are actually sick 
  • In extreme cases – medicating sick puppies so they appear active and alert when meeting potential buyers
  • Providing forged pet passports with fake information i.e., fake: date of birth, vaccine details, ownership details, microchip number  
  • Stating that the pedigree certificate will be sent to the buyer later
  • Putting pressure on the buyer to buy the puppy

Tricks After the Puppies Have Been Sold by the Seller

  • Claiming that they were not aware of any problems with the paperwork and that it is not their responsibility
  • Claiming the puppy was sold healthy and well-socialised when the buyer in fact has a sick and unsocialised puppy
  • Not responding to the buyers’ messages/questions or blocking the buyer
  • Disappearing altogether, being untraceable to authorities

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