Illegal puppy trade

The trade in purebred puppies is booming: they are being sold at a cheap price on the internet, in pet shops and in public spaces.

Produced in so-called puppy mills in poor conditions, the puppies are separated too early from their oppressed mothers, to be transported for sale across Europe, often sick and with fake documents. In many cases the new owners are faced with high veterinary costs and despite intensive care, many animals die or have to be put down.

Irresponsible business practices in the breeding and trading of puppies cause massive animal suffering across Europe.
FOUR PAWS therefore asks consumers to avoid buying cheap puppies and demands an EU-wide, legally binding regulation for the registration, vaccination and identification of all dogs by microchip.


Help FOUR PAWS to fight the puppy dealers!

Are you a victim of suspect puppy dealers? Do you know affected dog owners who wish to share their experience? Did you recently notice suspect puppy sales?

Give the puppies your voice! Tell us about your experience by filling out the following form. With your support we can expand our research and show how large the puppy trade business actually is in order to further emphasise our political demands.

Report your case!

Location where I bought my puppy/where I witnessed puppy trading


FOUR PAWS UK investigation exposes cruel & unscrupulous industry importing puppies into the UK from Hungary

FOUR PAWS UK has exposed evidence of a systematic, unscrupulous and highly organised industry based on the fraudulent import of puppies into the UK, following a joint investigation with the Daily Mirror.



First trial of puppy trader in EU postponed

FOUR PAWS campaigns with a 2.5-metre Justizia statue in Luxemourg’s city centre

The first trial of an illegal puppy trader was postponed by the court on 10th of October. The defendant failed to appear and his attorney had no power to represent him. Despite the fact that the puppy trader was also accused of animal abuse, he was only on trial for illegal trading. FOUR PAWS is appealing to the court to not sweep the suffering puppies under the table. With a 2.5-metre Justizia statue, FOUR PAWS activists from six countries symbolically reminded those present that the well-being of puppies has to carry more weight than profit.


Your guide

Please follow our checklist before bringing a new puppy into your life. Also do not forget that there are puppies in shelters who desperately need a loving home! However, if you’re determined to buy, please follow our checklist to make sure you don’t accidentally buy a farmed puppy and by doing so, unwittingly support illegal traders.


Always buy from a licensed breeder

Always buy from a reputable and licensed breeder and ask to see their licence. Avoid buying dogs through advertisements, newspapers, online and through some pet shops.



Make sure the puppy is at least 8 weeks old

Check that the breeder has the correct paperwork for the puppy. Make sure the puppy is at least eight weeks old before it leaves its mother and check the paperwork for its first vaccinations.



Ask to see the mother dog

Spend some time with the puppy to make sure it’s the right temperament for you. If the breeder won’t let you view the puppy with its mother and the rest of the litter, walk away. 



Ask questions

Ask as many questions as you want – a reputable breeder should always be happy to not only answer all your questions, but offer you support with your new companion before and after the purchase.



Ask a vet in case of doubt

If you have any concerns, ask a local vet to accompany you when you make a second visit.