FOUR PAWS Tips to avoid puppy farming scams


With thousands of animals advertised online on any given day, this is a major industry with little to no animal welfare regulation.

Puppy farming is a problem all over Australia. 

It has become increasingly common for Australians to buy animals online through classified ad sites, especially breeds considered ‘designer’ animals and which therefore attract a high dollar value. This demand has given rise to unscrupulous animal breeders, known as ‘puppy farmers’, who use animals as breeding machines with a focus on producing a high number of litters every year, only to be sold online.

With thousands of animals advertised online on any given day, this is a major industry with little to no animal welfare regulation.

There are easy ways for people looking for a new furry family member to avoid being cheated.

At FOUR PAWS Australia, we strongly advocate for adoption. Choosing to adopt an animal from a shelter or rescue group not only saves the life of that animal, but also positively contributes to the ongoing fight against animal overpopulation and homelessness.

if you choose to buy rather than adopt...

Please follow our checklist before bringing a new puppy into your life to make sure you don’t accidentally buy a farmed puppy and by doing so, unwittingly support illegal traders.

  • Always visit a reputable and licensed breeder, and ask to see their licence.
  • Check they have the correct paperwork for an animal.
  • Ask lots of questions! A reputable breeder should always be happy to not only answer your questions but offer ongoing support before and after you choose an animal with them.
  • Spend time with an animal before buying to ensure they are comfortable with you and have the right temperament for you and your household.
  • Check the animal's health and surrounding area, are they well cared for?
  • Make sure the puppy is at least eight weeks old before they leave their mother, and that they are fully vaccinated.
  • If the breeder won't let you view the puppy with their mother and the rest of the litter, walk away
  • Avoid buying animals through advertisements, newspapers, online and through some pet shops.

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FOUR PAWS is the global animal welfare organisation for animals under direct human influence, which reveals suffering, rescues animals in need and protects them.

Founded in 1988 in Vienna by Heli Dungler, the organisation advocates for a world where humans treat animals with respect, empathy and understanding. FOUR PAWS’ sustainable campaigns and projects focus on companion animals including stray dogs and cats, animals in fashion, and wild animals – such as bears, big cats, orangutans and elephants – kept in inappropriate conditions as well as in disaster and conflict zones. With offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Kosovo, the Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, Hungary, the UK, the USA and Vietnam as well as sanctuaries for rescued animals in 12 countries, FOUR PAWS provides rapid help and long-term solutions.