Be aware when buying a pet dog, warn Bedford Borough Council

A new furry friend can make a great addition to the family, but council bosses are warning residents to be cautious and carry out checks after reports of illegal puppy trading.

By Ben Raza
Tuesday, 3rd December 2019, 5:54 pm

Bad dealers and breeders are selling puppies that are too young, imported from other countries, have not had the appropriate vaccinations, or are 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 has grave concerns about the welfare of the puppies caught in the illegal dog trade, with unsuspecting families left picking up the pieces when they just wanted to give a puppy a home.

The council is aware of one person who bought a bichon frise puppy online for £700. The puppy was only three months old and had not been vaccinated against rabies or microchipped. As a result the dog had to be quarantined, which the new owner could not pay for, and the dog was given to The Dogs Trust to be treated, made legal, and re-homed; as a result the lost both 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 recommend following advice from The Dog’s Trust when looking to buy a new puppy.


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 on their website at