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Friday, 29 May 2020

Greeders not breeders!

Featured Written by Our Dogs - 29/05/20

So-called ‘greeders’ have been taking advantage of the lockdown and selling puppies at inflated prices to families desperate to own a dog. Social media posts started to circulate a few weeks ago detailing shocking stories of puppy prices suddenly rocketing as lockdown families seem to have decided that now is a good time to take on a new puppy.

Lockdown leads to inflated prices: Breeders have told OUR DOGS that they are receiving a much increased volume of calls for puppies but that they cannot meet demand. This has also led to a surge in enquiries on online sites 

OUR DOGS has now spoken to numerous people who have dealt with these ‘greeders’, who will offer a puppy for one price and then suddenly the cost of the dog can more than double when next contacted. One person said, ‘We’ve recently been had over by a Terrier breeder. They offered a pup for £700, a couple of weeks later after videos and choosing our pup we were told it was now £1700.

‘A Facebook page is still allowing this woman access to Facebook and a platform from which to pick unsuspecting buyers. 

‘People like this should not be breeding dogs.’ 

One Boxer exhibitor told us, ‘Boxers have increased greatly, purely because of Covid and the problem that I see is that because they have paid £2000 plus they see the dog as a cash cow which can bring them several thousands in a few years time!!! Very sad for every quality pedigree dog.’ 

Online puppy buying sites have also come under extra scrutiny. The same Boxer exhibitor also confirmed the story about ‘scammers’ using other people’s photos on online puppy classified sales sites. 
One report said that one such online site was charging £2000 for an Irish Setter and stated, ‘Do not ask for more photos- all red setters look the same’ as well as charging vastly inflated prices for so called ‘designer dogs.’ 

Messed around
 
Stories abound online and through direct emails to the OUR DOGS office. 

We were told the following story by another person, ‘A friend of mine has been looking for a Bichon pup. She found a breeder who originally said £875 for a bitch puppy on the numerous occasions my friend enquired prior and when the pups were first born. 
‘Then when the pups were five days old my friend got a text stating that each bitch puppy is now £2000 as they are from champion lines and better pedigrees to others online, which my friend had probably enquired about.

‘When asked for KC names of sire and dam, the breeder said OK but they never gave them and when my friend queried the price jump stating £1,250 to £1,400 is max price for a KC Bichon pup (as she has done her homework over many months), the breeder became funny with her and told her to go away and have a good think about it and not to contact her again until the puppies are over five weeks old. 

‘My poor friend just wants to buy her dream puppy and has been messed around tremendously by breeders (first litter puppy had a health issue detected by a vet, second returned her deposit stating she was keeping the whole litter).
‘Understandably my friend is frightened to rock the boat too much with the breeder as she really just wants her puppy that she’s saved up for, and bought everything ready, she has done everything properly using the KC tools and searches.’

Greeders

A new phrase has been coined online, ‘greeders’, and whilst this practice is not new it appears the more unscrupulous breeders have taken advantage of the lockdown desire for puppies in order to cash in.
We were told of another ‘greeder’ selling Weimaraners who charges £100 for people to look at the dog, asks for a £200 deposit and then £1,700 on pick up, that is if you get the dog.

Many responsible breeders are not breeding at this time when demand is artificially high because of the lockdown. As one lady in Akitas told OUR DOGS, ‘It may be different for other breeds but to breed Akita puppies at this time would be a nightmare. It would be difficult to socialise them properly.’

A search for Beagle puppies brought up an advert selling them for £9,999, Bulldogs were being sold for same price and French Bulldogs were going for £6,000 including what one site described as ‘fluffy Bulldogs’ (with long haired coats). 
One online observer said, ‘You could buy a

car for the prices people are charging in Pomeranians.’

Older dogs
 
It is not just puppies either, there are adverts for older dogs where the owners are also asking for £3,000.
These sellers often use different names but can be spotted using the same mobile phone number. Scammers often use photos of puppies of dogs that are not the dog they are selling. One person told us they knew that one seller was doing this when she saw a picture of her dog as a puppy.

She told us she is, ‘focused on a scam website which is where people are parting with money based on photos that aren’t the puppies, I know this is fact because one of them is my photo!
OUR DOGS spoke to vet, activist and co-creator of Lucy’s Law, Marc Abraham, about this issue and he said, ‘People are desperate for something and maybe they are too trusting.

‘The lockdown is not good for the mindset and it does not help when you have newspapers like the Daily Mail saying it is a “good time to get a dog.”
‘If you go online and assume that it is going to be kosher you are going to be disappointed.
‘People should wait until they can buy from a responsible breeder. The people who encourage irresponsible breeders by buying from them are part of the problem.
‘They should be patient. A well bred puppy is worth waiting for, so my advice would be for people to hang on.
‘If you have a puppy in lockdown it won’t be properly socialised and there could be problems with separation anxiety.
‘These people are taking advantage of an emotional drive but people should resist it.
‘If you are going to buy a puppy you should do your research but there are many reasons to wait.
‘In the style of the government’s lockdown message – Wait – Research – Choose responsibly. I would advise people Google phone numbers in the adverts; it can flush out fraudulent sellers. Do it properly and go to responsible breeders that would be my advice.”

Many breeders online want the national newspapers to highlight the problem and OUR DOGS is happy to endorse that view and we will also be sharing this story widely online.
 
Fraudsters

In related news, fraudsters have been taking advantage of the lockdown with puppy scams that have cost unwitting buyers hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Action Fraud reported that in March and April 669 people lost a total of £282,686 after putting down deposits for pets they had seen advertised online.

The criminals posting these adverts never had a puppy to sell, but they will ask the purchaser to put down a deposit to secure the purchase.

They used the lockdown conditions as the reason why the victims cannot come and see the dog first to pick it up.

After the initial payment for the deposit they then ask for more money to cover vaccinations and even the delivery of the puppy, which will never arrive.

Pauline Smith, Head of Action Fraud, said, ‘The fact criminals will even exploit an international crisis, such as the one we find ourselves in now, to take innocent people’s money is especially cruel. But, unfortunately, as we spend more time online, and are forced to adapt to a new way of life, opportunities will arise for criminals to commit fraud.

‘In these unprecedented times, it may seem quite plausible that you should have to pay a deposit for a pet and that you wouldn’t be able to see the animal in real life first. However, we would encourage you to think carefully before you transfer any money – do you know and trust this person?’

An RSPCA spokesperson said, ‘Unfortunately we’ve investigated many criminal gangs who are willing to exploit animals in order to make a quick buck and now, during this time of international crisis, they will be trying new tricks to cash in and con the public.
‘We’d urge anyone thinking of getting a new pet to think long and hard about whether they can properly care for that animal, not just now but into the future when restrictions are lifted and their lifestyles become more busy.”

One breeder told OUR DOGS ‘this problem will go on for months because dogs cannot be taken for matings at the moment because of lockdown.’

There is also a concern that breed rescue might become an issue when families start to return to schools and full time work.

Read 1821 times Last modified on Friday, 29 May 2020

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