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Big blow to the illegal puppy trade: Long-term puppy dealer in Germany arrested

FOUR PAWS supports research into dealers activities and calls on Belgian authorities to take appropriate action and put an end to this cruel trade


Kreuztal (Germany)/City, 19.12.2016 – Last week, a special police unit consisting of 60 police officers and specially trained dog handlers searched the compounds of a leading puppy dealer in Kreuztal near Siegen (Germany). This search resulted in five suspects being arrested and over 100 breeding dogs and puppies in poor condition being confiscated. This was the result of intensive research into the dealer’s activities, strongly supported by FOUR PAWS. This is a huge step for Germany, as it is the first time this activity has been seen as organized crime, which can lead to a prison sentence. FOUR PAWS is now calling on the authorities to take appropriate action to address the illegal puppy trade which has grown substantially over the years, facilitated by internet trading. Most of the puppies were sold via classified ad sites, which are helping to facilitate this cruel and unnecessary trade by not having in place appropriate measures to control illegal activities. FOUR PAWS is also calling on classified ad sites to introduce stricter measures to protect the animals sold on their sites.


Birgitt Thiesmann, FOUR PAWS expert on the illegal puppy trade, who was on site during the seizure, was shocked by the devastating conditions in which the dogs were kept: “The dogs lead miserable lives, locked in small, dark and cold kennels. Most of them were in a neglected state and appeared traumatized.”


Among the suspects arrested was also a vet, who is accused of providing fake vaccination records. In total, 108 dogs, among them 20 puppies were confiscated, four dead dogs were also found in the kennels. FOUR PAWS has been monitoring this dealer for some time and was in contact with several victims, who had bought dogs from him. Many of the puppies bought were sick and some died soon after they were bought.


The confiscated dogs were taken to various shelters in Nordrhein-Westfalen and Hessen (Germany), where they have received medical care. Some of the animals needed to be quarantined as they had not received the necessary vaccinations such as rabies vaccinations.



Julie Sanders, Director of Companion Animals Department FOUR PAWS, said that this is only one example of the suffering caused by this trade,  it is essential that  local authorities, classified ad sites and the Government  all work together to put an end to this illegal business: “Sadly  many more dogs are suffering the same fate locked away on breeding farms, the public also pays both a financial and  an emotional cost as they are buying these animals unaware of the conditions in which they are bred or that many of them are sick and will need expensive veterinary treatment. We need authorities in all countries and on EU-level to be aware of the issue and to treat it seriously. We also need classified ad sites to take responsibility and implement measures to stop illegal trading with animals on their platforms.  Everyone can help us to reach this goal by signing our petition on”


The FOUR PAWS Pet deception campaign

Thousands of classified adverts offering pets are listed across various websites every day, with animals being purchased just like products, at the click of a button. FOUR PAWS has carried out research on 42 classified ad sites across 10 countries world-wide (Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, the Netherlands, Romania, South Africa Switzerland and the UK) and developed an online tool, which ranks the more commonly used classified ad sites to show the public which sites could be putting them and pets at risk:  FOUR PAWS petition has already reached over 135,000 signatures calling on classified ad sites to implement the following measures:


  • verify sellers identity, so that there is no anonymous selling on the sites for animal   sales, to help stop illegal activity
  • running pre checks of all adverts to remove illegal, misleading or inappropriate adverts before they go live
  • having mandatory information in the ad which clearly shows important information such as the health documentation details to help the buyer make an informed decision when buying a pet
  • having in place a list of animals which are banned from being sold on the site including primates, endangered and wild caught animals, underage animals and pregnant animals to help address animal welfare issues