Dogs Trust

Don't get 'Dogfished' by Unscrupulous Breeders

We are warning the public about the dangers of being ‘dogfished’ by unscrupulous ‘doggy dealers’ who are putting profits before the welfare of the dogs they are selling.

According to online search trends the demand for buying a puppy in Ireland has sky-rocketed by 400% and so too has the risk of purchasing a dog from a puppy farm.

One Irish family was left heartbroken after purchasing a three-month-old dachshund who was advertised for €1,300 on a well-known online selling platform. When they arrived to collect the puppy, he looked considerably older than the online photo, but they were told, the advert was a few months old and ‘Frank’ was now six months of age. After taking him to the vet, it transpired Frank is approximately two years old and not a puppy at all! Due to his extremely fearful behaviour, Frank was surrendered to us and is now being cared for by an experienced foster carer.

Recently, we carried out research which revealed that 20% of people who purchased a dog during lockdown in Ireland collected their dog on the same day as they first enquired about him/her, highlighting the unfortunate current click and collect culture around the sale of dogs. The following video highlights just some of the responses we collected from people about their experience of buying a dog.

We also discovered that 82% of those who purchased dogs during this time paid in cash and 34% of dogs were not microchipped, which is not only illegal but can leave the seller totally untraceable and unaccountable should your puppy fall ill. One respondent explained that “The poor pup spent just one day with us and ended up dying after spending three nights at a vet with suspected parvovirus.”

Becky Bristow, Executive Director, Dogs Trust Ireland explains: While we would love if every dog could be adopted, we understand some people are going to buy a dog or puppy for a variety of reasons. Sadly, it has become almost impossible to do this safely, especially as puppy farmers can go to extreme lengths to disguise themselves as caring breeders and people can unwittingly fuel this vile trade.

Unfortunately, in the digital age we live in, people are often afraid of publicising their bad experiences for fear of being vilified or trolled online, which means puppy farmers can continue to operate in the shadows.”

Karla Dunne, Head of Operations, Dogs Trust Ireland continues: “We have already had a number of puppies surrendered to us who were purchased online in haste, so we are reminding people that ‘A dog is for life, not just for lockdown’. The last thing we want to see are puppies being sold on again when things don’t work out, so please, if you are struggling with your dog or puppy, please contact us for advice, we are here to help.”

We recommend to anybody thinking of getting a dog to visit here for advice and if you have your heart set on a buying a puppy, to visit where breeders have been checked and verified by a team of vets.