The UK Kennel Club is the latest organization to report an alarming increase in black market puppies from puppy mills. These puppies are being sold in classifieds and online, and they’re fooling millions of potential pet parents with clever schemes. In their study, 35 percent of puppy buyers had home delivery without previewing, and 12 percent of puppy buyers overall said they didn’t view the breeding environment. A third of all buyers picked up their puppy from a neutral location. As they celebrate Puppy Awareness Week (PAW) from September 8th – 15th, the Kennel Club is trying to raise awareness of this rapidly accelerating problem.
These heartless people are planting unhealthy animals in what appears to be loving homes with puppies (including registered breeders), they’re offering delivery or selling them at markets, they’re posting them in classifieds online and offline, or setting up temporary websites.
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: “A shocking number of people treat buying a puppy the way they would if they were buying a car or a fridge – and have no idea what to ask to ensure they get a healthy, happy puppy – whether pedigree or cross breed. As a result puppy farmers are able trade on selling ‘fashionable’ cross breeds or pedigree pups with no questions asked.
“Buying a puppy online means that buyers have no idea of the often appalling conditions the puppies were born into. Sadly, these puppies often grow up with health and behavioural problems, which can cost thousands of pounds to treat or which lead to heartbreak if the problems cannot be overcome.”
Sometimes I hate being right.
The increase in black market puppies is one that I sadly predicted as more and more jurisdictions outlaw the sale of puppies in stores. While some stores may obtain puppies from questionable sources, we believe stores are a better choice for puppy sales but with tougher regulations that are consistently enforced. When I say tough, I mean very tough and when I say consistently enforced, I mean micro-monitoring each store that is licensed to sell. I’m talking about regulations that require irrefutable proof that the puppies were not obtained from a puppy mill. I’d want consumer reporting hotlines. I’d recommend yanking a store’s business license if they’re caught with a puppy mill animal.
It would be wonderful if removing puppies from stores resulted in everyone buying healthy, local puppies or opting for local adoption. It is an unfortunate fact, however, that the vast majority of people want the puppy they have in mind and will go to great lengths to get it. If they have their heart set on an Irish Wolfhound, many of them won’t adopt or settle for another breed. Even if they do, using a registered breeder is no guarantee that they’re getting a healthy puppy. Puppy mills often have a registered breeder front that is fed from an offsite ‘farm’. Like most scammers, they’re not stupid and they’ll use any means necessary to make their operation look legitimate.
All we can do is try to educate people about the dangers of purchasing puppies from questionable sources. One of the most important points to share is you shouldn’t buy a puppy unless you have seen it in a home environment with it’s nursing, healthy mother. It isn’t fool-proof, but without easily-regulated stores it’s the only way to effectively avoid buying an unhealthy animal that will cost countless dollars and suffer through much of it’s shortened lifetime. For more reassurance, we recommend asking for a list of references and it wouldn’t hurt to pay them a visit. Don’t be afraid to ask to have the puppy checked by your own veterinarian (at your expense) before purchasing.
We ask you to help us spread the word about black market puppy sales with this graphic. Please feel free to post it on social media or your website. Thank you for caring and sharing!
??? Have you had an experience with a puppy mill animal? Do you have some advice to share? Please comment below.
The Kennel Club