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Petfished campaign

Petfished campaign bannerYou may have heard of 'Catfishing', when someone creates a fictional online persona to lure a person into a relationship. Deceitful pet sellers often use a similar tactic to 'Petfish' buyers, mistreating animals and selling them at high volume to line their pockets.

Unscrupulous sellers can trick prospective pet-buyers into believing that the cat or dog they're looking to purchase was raised in a healthy home. In reality, these pets may have been reared in unhealthy, low-welfare environments. 

Sadly, welcoming these pets into your home can have devastating consequences. They can have severe medical and behavioural problems, which can be emotionally traumatic and costly in vet bills. The Petfished campaign aims to help buyers spot the signs of these deceitful sellers.

Changes in the law are helping to put an end to this practice. 'Lucy's Law', in force in England from 6th April 2020, bans the third-party sale of puppies and kittens. It makes it illegal for anyone other than a breeder or rehoming centre to sell puppies or kittens under six months.

The 'Petfished' campaign encourages prospective pet-buyers to ask, 'Who's the person behind the pet?'. It prompts buyers to research the seller before getting in touch. Buying a new pet is an exciting time, but it's important to make sure your pet comes from a responsible seller.

  • when looking to buy a puppy, kitten, cat or dog, you're more likely to come across a deceitful seller than you think
  • deceitful sellers mistreat animals to line their pockets and use many different tricks to mislead buyers
  • always research the seller before you contact them to avoid being Petfished
  • puppies and kittens should always be purchased directly from the breeder or adopted from a reputable rescue organisation in the UK
  • if you buy a pet from a deceitful seller, you may end up with unexpected vet bills, due to the low welfare conditions that the animals are often reared in.
  • puppies or kittens reared in low-welfare conditions are more likely to suffer from long-term diseases or die prematurely
  • if you buy from a deceitful seller you are helping the trade continue, enabling more animals to be exploited
  • 'Lucy's Law', in force from 6th April 2020, makes it illegal for anyone other than a breeder to sell puppies or kittens.

Visit to find out how to spot the signs of deceitful sellers, so you can make sure your new pet comes from a happy, healthy environment.

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