Warning over illegal puppy trading


Bedford Borough Council have issued a warning to be cautious and carry out checks after reports of illegal puppy trading in the area.

The illegal dealers and breeders are reported to be selling puppies that are too young, imported from other countries, haven’t had the appropriate vaccinations, and without the right paperwork.

This can result in the puppies being quarantined and not allowed to go to their new owners.

The Dogs Trust also say it has ‘grave concerns’ about puppy welfare caught in the illegal dog trade, with families wanting to give a puppy a loving home left to pick up the pieces.

Bedford Borough Council says that are aware of an individual who bought a three-month-old,  Bichon Frise puppy that had not received a rabies vaccination or microchip online for £700.

The dog had to be quarantined, which they couldn’t afford. The Dogs Trust stepped in to treat the dog, make it legal and thankfully found it a home.

The owners both lost the dog and their money.

Cllr Colleen Atkins, Portfolio Holder for Regulatory Services said “Beyond the disappointment of not being able to take your new puppy home and the expense of quarantine, vaccinations, and paperwork, the welfare of the puppies must always be paramount.

“The rules around rabies vaccinations and importing dogs exist for a reason- to keep you and the animals safe.

“We’d really encourage people to do their research when looking to buy a puppy and remember that if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.”

Bedford Borough Council and the Dog’s Trust give the following advice:


  • Ask to see mum and pup together
  • Ask the breeder lots of questions
  • Expect a breeder to quiz you too
  • Visit your new pup more than once
  • Get all your pup’s paperwork before you take them home
  • Walk away if you have doubts or feel pressure to buy
  • Report suspicious online sellers or breeders to Trading Standards


  • Meet somewhere that isn’t the pup’s home
  • Buy a pup from anyone selling multiple breeds of dog
  • Buy a pup that looks small and underweight
  • Buy a pup that you suspect has been imported illegally

Further advice can be found at the Dogs Trust website.