Cookie use on MRCVSonline
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive all cookies.
If you would like to forward this story on to a friend, simply fill in the form below and click send.

Your friend's email:
Your email:
Your name:
Send Cancel

'Don't be Dogfished', pet lovers warned
"We might be in the midst of a pandemic, but these devious sellers will still use every trick in the book to scam unsuspecting dog lovers" - Paula Boyden.

Dogs Trust warns of the perils of buying pets through online adverts. 

Pet lovers are being warned about the perils of being 'Dogfished' after six puppies were found covered in engine oil in the back of a van.

The Dogs Trust is warning people against buying pets via online adverts, particularly as the demand for puppies soared during lockdown.

Since the 23 March, the charity has rescued 43 dogs that were illegally imported into the UK from central and eastern Europe, with an estimated street value of £80,000.
It has also rescued 53 puppies born to 12 pregnant mums, worth around an additional £100,000.

The latest victims were six puppies found drenched in engine oil, seized in the back of a van at Dover. They had been illegally imported from Romania, despite the coronavirus lockdown restrictions in the UK preventing non-essential travel.

“It is absolutely heart-breaking that we continue to see dogs being illegally imported into the country, often in terrible conditions to make huge profits for cruel puppy smugglers,” commented Paula Boyden, Dogs Trust veterinary director.

"We might be in the midst of a pandemic, but these devious sellers will still use every trick in the book to scam unsuspecting dog lovers.”

She continued: “Sadly, it’s all too easy to be Dogfished and it can be very difficult to know if you are buying a puppy that has been smuggled. We would advise you to always see a puppy with and interacting with their mum and go and see it more than once.

“Ask lots of questions, and ask to see vital paperwork, such as a puppy contract. If you have any doubts or it feels too good to be true, as hard as it may be, walk away and report the seller.

According to data from Propellernet, Google searches for ‘buy a puppy’ increased by 120 per cent when the lockdown was announced.

Dogs Trust is asking the nation to consider whether now really is the right time to be getting a dog and, if it is, to make sure they are sourcing their puppy responsibly without falling victim to illegal puppy smugglers.

It is also calling on immediate action from the Government after it promised in its manifesto to crack down on puppy smuggling. In particular, it is calling for:

  1. A requirement for every dog to have a rabies blood test before entry into the UK, together with a waiting period which is in line with the incubation period of rabies. This would significantly increase the minimum age for importing dogs and help to stop the trade.
  2. Visual checks at ports carried out by enforcement agencies with animal welfare expertise, with physical checks where necessary.
  3. Stronger penalties for puppy smugglers caught illegally importing dogs into the country which will act as a deterrent for this abhorrent trade.


Become a member or log in to add this story to your CPD history

Defra extends applications to Zoo Animals Fund

News Story 1
 Defra has extended the deadline for applications for the 100 Million Zoo Animals Fund until 26 February 2021.

Launched in June 2020, the fund provides financial support for zoos and aquariums that have experienced a drop in income caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Grants of up to 730,000 are available, which can be used to pay for essential costs and maintenance, including veterinary care, medicines, animal feed and staffing.

More information about the fund and details of how to apply can be found here

Click here for more...
News Shorts
APHA confirms eighth case of highly pathogenic avian influenza in England

The Animal & Plant Health Agency (APHA) has identified an eighth case of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N8 in poultry in England.

Confirmed on Tuesday (15 December), the outbreak was found in captive birds and poultry at a premises near Willington, South Derbyshire. A 3km Protection Zone and a 10km Surveillance Zone have been placed around the infected premises to limit the risk of the disease spreading.

Further information about the outbreaks and the latest government advice can be found at