Illegal dog breeders charged

Are you one of the thousands of people who have enjoyed the company of a new puppy during a lockdown? Sadly, many new owners discovered too late that their puppies were born as a result of horrendous and often illegal puppy breeding and selling. New owners have suffered as much as their new furry friends with extortionate vet bills and often the loss of their beloved pet.

Finally, there has been some good news regarding illegal puppy sellers operating in Milton Keynes. Thirteen people from Milton Keynes were charged with conspiracy to commit fraud and the trial was scheduled for April 2021. At this time the outcome is still not known.

The sellers were charged because they told lies about the condition of the puppies they were involved in selling. Their scam involved the sale of, often poorly, puppies to unsuspecting customers, leaving the new owner with high vet bills and in some instances the new puppy died. Judge Sheridan, Aylesbury Crown Court, has prohibited any further sales of puppies by the 13 individuals, without written permission by the Crown Prosecution Service, before the trial.

Puppy sales rose during lockdown with an estimated 3.2 million people taking on a new pet. If you are thinking of buying a puppy, here are some red flags for you to look out for:

  1. The owner meets you outside their address with the puppy in their arms (chances are the seller does not live in that house at all!)
  1. The owner is advertising multiple litters in quick succession on the web platform you use – remember breeders are restricted to the number of litters they can have per year.
  2. When you get to the house of the breeder, there is no sign of the mother dog – the breeder must only arrange for you to visit when the mother is present
  3. When you get to the house of an owner who has decided they cannot cope with the puppy, there are no dog toys, they offer you one can of food, one bowl, the puppy has no relationship with the so-called owner, these could all be signs that you are dealing with a distributor of puppies which have come from a puppy farm and may have medical issues which you will need to pay for later, as the seller will not help you afterwards!
  4. If the seller says they are a breeder, ask to see the licence. Under The Animal Welfare Regulations 2018 which covers the breeding of dogs, a breeder is required to have a licence. This applies to breeders who breed 3 or more litters of puppies in a 12 month period or if they are breeding dogs and advertising a business of selling dogs.

If you have any suspicions about puppy sellers please call Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133. They will pass the information on to Trading Standards who can investigate further.