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Don't get 'dogfished' when buying a puppy

Don't get 'dogfished' when buying a puppy

Published by Grace Mcgachy
5:26am 17th January 2020.

Charity  Dogs Trust has revealed the cruel 'Dogfishing' scam duping dog lovers in the East of England. 

New stats show how new owners may have been conned into buying puppies illegally imported into the UK. 

Which is why they've launched a new campaign to encourage people to do their research before buying a new pet. 

don't get dogfished campaign dogs trust

Dogs Trust polled over 2,000 puppy owners to see how many buyers might have fallen victim to illegal puppy smuggling. 

The animals are brought into the UK from central and eastern European countries to sell on for vast profits. 

Many described how sellers falsified paperwork, offered discounts for a quick sale or lied about the age and breed of the dog. 

Nearly half of those asked in our region were not allowed to see the puppy more than once and 40% weren't allowed to see the puppy with their mum, these are often signs that the seller isn't being honest. 

People reported the terrible conditions the puppies were kept in.

Some were "locked in a small cage away from mum", were so sick they "very nearly died", or were "scared of their own shadow and very wary of humans". 

don't get dogfished campaign dogs trust

Over 201,300 dogs were advertised online in 2019 on four of the UK's biggest classified websites. 

Adam Levy, Regional Manager at Dogs Trust, said: 

"Today we're launching a campaign warning people 'Don't be dogfished' - to help stop people being duped into buying puppies that have been illegally imported into the country by devious dealers. 
"People think they are getting a healthy, happy puppy but behind the curtain lurks the dark depths of the puppy smuggling trade. 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.
"This is why we are touring the country in a van like those used by puppy smugglers to educate the public on the shocking realities of the puppy smuggling trade and advising them how they can take action to avoid being 'dogfished'. If it seems too good to be true, as hard as it is, walk away and report it."    

don't get dogfished campaign dogs trust


The Don't Be Dogfished campaign is asking potential new owners to take the following steps to avoid being misled when buying a puppy:

  • Always see puppy and mum 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.

Launching today, the Don't Be Dogfished campaign kicks-off in London, where Dogs Trust experts will begin a tour of the country in a 'fake' puppy van. 

The van has been specially adapted by Norfolk's dirt artist Ruddy Muddy to highlight how easy it can be to be duped by a seller and the dreadful conditions many dogs are forced to travel in.

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