Warwickshire residents warned to look out for puppy scam signs - The Leamington Observer

Warwickshire residents warned to look out for puppy scam signs

Leamington Editorial 9th Mar, 2021   0

CRIMINALS are taking advantage of a growing demand for puppies during the pandemic.

Consumers are paying thousands for stolen and sick puppies and in some case puppies which do not even exist, Warwickshire County Council’s Trading Standards Service is warning.

County Council safety spokesman Andy Crump said: “The popularity of owning a dog has increased since the pandemic began, such that demand for puppies has gone through the roof and prices for many breeds have more than doubled.

“Unfortunately, this has encouraged criminals to get involved, leading to more puppy thefts and prospective owners paying huge sums for stolen or sick puppies or large deposits for puppies that don’t even exist.

“We’ve published some top tips to assist would be dog owners to avoid these scam puppy sales.”

Trading Standards Animal Health Officers have received reports of criminal gangs illegally smuggling puppies in to the UK to sell, puppies being stolen and sold on, and consumers paying huge deposits to online sellers for puppies which do not exist.

Illegally imported puppies may carry diseases such as rabies which could affect human health. Criminal gangs have also been involved in puppy farming, where dogs are often bred in appalling conditions, increasing the risk of disease and ill health.

Last year, ‘Lucy’s Law’ was introduced, meaning anyone wanting to get a new puppy or kitten in England, must now buy direct from a breeder, or consider adopting from a rescue centre instead. Licensed dog breeders are required to show puppies interacting with their mothers in their place of birth. If a business sells puppies or kittens without a licence, they could receive an unlimited fine or be sent to prison for up to six months. The new law seeks to tackle the low-welfare, high volume supply of puppies and kittens, by banning their commercial third-party sale in England.

Warwickshire Trading Standards has launched a new campaign to promote safety around puppy buying.

Tips include:

– Buy from a reputable and recommended dealer. Consider the Kennel Club Assured breeder scheme.

– Always view the puppy with its mother and siblings, where it has been bred.

– Ask to see the health test certificates for the puppy’s parents and the puppy’s vaccination documentation.

– Buyers should be prepared to wait for the puppy they want and be wary of anyone claiming they can provide the puppy desired quickly.

– Many bogus breeders ‘sell’ puppies on social media where money is taken for large deposits, but no puppy is ever delivered. Buyers asked to pay a deposit should check to ensure the seller is genuine first.

– Never agree to meet the seller anywhere other than where the puppy is kept, for example car parks and motorway service stations. Buyers shoulf not allow the seller to deliver the puppy to their home.

– Beware of anyone offering a puppy at a ‘too good to be true’ price.

– To report puppy scams, the illegal sale of puppies and obtain advice on your consumer rights, contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133

Visit www.dogstrust.org.uk/help-advice/buyer-advice/ for more advice


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