Puppy farmers and puppy thieves alike are unscrupulous and immoral individuals who operate with the sole intention of making a profit; they don’t care about you, and they certainly don’t care about dogs. However, if you know what to look for when trying to buy a puppy, you can usually pick up on the warning signs that something is wrong; and many of these are common to both puppy farmers and puppy thieves.
However, many such criminals are also slick con-artists, and they may well have tricks up their sleeves to gloss over or help to divert you from recognising red flags, often being very plausible about it.
Only after the event, when you’ve already paid out and may or may not have a puppy that was either farmed or that is actually stolen, do you realise you were duped.
This article will help you to avoid this effect by telling you about five tricks and techniques that both puppy thieves and puppy farmers use to try to divert buyers from picking up on warning signs. Read on to learn more.
This is not likely to be the case with a litter of puppies that are young, but if older puppies (over around ten weeks) and the dam, if present, don’t appear to know or have a bond with the person selling and showing you them, this is a red flag of both a stolen litter and a farmed litter.
Some savvy dog thieves and puppy farmers alike that know this is the case or that are having particular problems with the way the dam acts towards them might even try and counter this by telling you that their sister/friend/someone else is the actual owner but they’re out or had a last-minute emergency and so cannot be there.
If this happens, walk away and refuse to proceed unless or until the owner is present, and look for other warnings something is wrong too.
People who breed dogs, either professionally or from their own dog just once, do a lot of research into this and are experienced and knowledgeable about the breed, and dogs in general.
If the seller seems inexperienced or vague; such as about breed health, how good the quality of their pups are, or other things, this is a sign something is wrong. Also, be aware to avoid the effect where you immediately think the breeder is the expert and so write off your instincts if they say something that seems odd or that you know is wrong.
Many thieves and puppy farmers alike are slick talkers and can think on the fly; so they might give an answer that sounds natural and plausible off the top of their heads, but that is in fact completely wrong.
Ask them questions about the breed that you already know for sure the answer to thanks to your own research, and use this as a basic benchmark.
If you don’t want to take one of the puppies or if a situation occurs where you turn up to see a puppy only to find the puppy isn’t available, the person you meet might take another tack to part you from some funds for a puppy that is either farmed or stolen.
This might be along the lines of trying to find out what you want or you saying in passing about a type of dog you like, and them happening to know another breeder that has one available, or outright offering to get you a pup exactly like you want; usually by saying they know of a litter on the way, to explain a potential delay. A litter might then be stolen to order, or this imaginary litter used to get a deposit from you, which will then vanish as the litter isn’t real.
Things like this will pretty much only happen if the person is a puppy farmer and so has access to a whole network of different dogs, or is a dog thief/con artist or working as part of a theft network and so can source a dog held elsewhere or even try to steal one to order.
Another common warning sign of both farmed puppies and stolen puppies is the breeder or seller wanting to meet you somewhere, or otherwise have you see the litter on neutral territory or on private land that they say or it is obvious is not the litter’s home or where they are kept.
Puppy farmers and dog thieves alike obviously don’t want you coming to their actual home or a place where they spend a lot of time or return to regularly, as this increases the chances of them being reported, investigated, and caught.
Many unscrupulous sellers and sellers of stolen dogs alike will ask you to meet somewhere like a carpark, or on a commercial premises, or somewhere other than their own home, a home in which it is obvious the dogs live.
There is no good reason for this at all, and so you should consider this a red flag.
Also, to keep would-be buyers on the back foot and avoid them having time to realise something is wrong, dodgy sellers might make last-minute changes to where they want to meet you.
This might work by giving you an address to go to at first (which might just be a random suburban house that is nothing to do with them and that the residents have no clue is being used) then an hour or so before, telling you they won’t be back in time or have just taken the litter to the vet or something else, and that they need to meet you somewhere else with the litter in their car.
Demand for puppies and so competition for puppies for sale is very high at the moment, and so it might seem that you need to make a fast decision and pay a deposit or even the full amount to secure your puppy right away, perhaps even taking the puppy at the same time.
It can seem quite natural then and not a red flag if a seller basically tells you to make a choice and pay if you want a puppy, otherwise they can just sell to someone else. They might tell you other people are coming shortly after you and so if you do not decide right on the spot, not even having a couple of hours to think on things, the pup you want will be gone.
However, think about this logically; sellers of puppies really do have a lot of choice at the moment, and a huge number of waiting buyers for every puppy. Does it seem likely then that they’d be pushy or try and funnel you into a sale if you weren’t sure or not ready?
No. It is far more likely that they’d be totally unphased because they’re not going to have any problems finding another buyer if you do not want to take the puppy. Also, people who breed dogs responsibly (which does not include puppy farmers and dog thieves, obviously) care about and love their dogs; both their breeding stock and their puppies.
It is often hard for breeders to see their pups leave, and they tend to be anxious to make sure they pick great homes for them, support the buyer in providing the right care and making the transition easier for the pup, and even potentially staying in touch with the buyer over the longer term.
Why then would a breeder be trying to push a puppy onto someone who was not only uncertain or not ready, but that the breeder hadn’t had plenty of time to talk to and assess? For no good reasons, put it that way!
Again, think farmed or stolen puppy, or at least, irresponsible breeder that is better off avoided.