Dogs Trust has warned the public to avoid being scammed into buying puppies which may not be what they seem, following a rise in demand for dogs during lockdown.
According to new research by Propellernet, Google searches for ‘buy a puppy’ increased by 120% in the month after lockdown was announced on 23 March with ‘adopt a puppy’ seeing an increase of 133% in online searches.
The dog charity released advice on how to avoid being misled or “dogfished” when buying a new puppy, as sellers can often falsify paperwork, offer discounts for a quick sale or lie about the health, age and breed of the dog.
The advice includes:
- Always see the puppies and mother together at their home and make sure to visit more than once.
- Ask lots of questions and make sure you see all vital paperwork, such as a puppy contract – which gives lots of information about their parents, breed, health, diet, the puppy’s experiences and more.
- If you have any doubts or feel pressured to buy, as hard as it may be, walk away and report the seller.
Owen Sharp, CEO at Dogs Trust, said: “People think they are getting a healthy, happy puppy but behind the curtain lurks the dark depths of the puppy smuggling trade and deceitful sellers who put profits before animal welfare.
“Many of these poor puppies suffer significant health conditions or lifelong behavioural challenges, and sadly some don’t survive, leaving their buyers helpless and heartbroken – as well as out of pocket.”
He added: “We want to advise the public on the action they can take to avoid being ‘dogfished’. Always see puppy and mum together at their home, ask lots of questions, check vital paperwork, and make sure to visit more than once. If it seems too good to be true, as hard as it is, walk away and report the seller.”