Puppy scams on the rise during Coronavirus pandemic

We received a series of distressed calls on the weekend from a prospective puppy buyer who was scammed out of $3300 for a puppy he paid for but never received, after placing a "spaniel wanted ad" on Gumtree. Amazingly, someone had the exact spaniel puppy he wanted and was able to help him immediately. He paid $1300 to a woman named Cheryl. No puppy was forthcoming but luckily she had a mate in Queensland who could help him if he paid another $2000. Despite current COVID lockdowns, the puppy was going to be flown to Tasmania the next day by Jet Pets Movers.

The puppy never arrived. He did some investigating and found the QLD phone number was fake and the pet transport company didn't exist.

A report was made to the police. The bank weren't interested in his lost money. He is still looking for a puppy.


This is not an exhaustive list but we have put together some tips to use as a starting point if you are interested in adding a puppy to your family:

  • Instead of looking for a puppy, look for a breeder
  • Do your research about the breed you're interested in. Find out as much as you can about the breed, including health issues and put together a list of questions to ask breeders
  • Research breeders - the Tasmanian Canine Association (or equivalent in your state) keeps a record of ANKC registered breeders and also their affiliate clubs. Not all registered breeders are members of a breed club, but it's a good place to start. 
  • Ask for recommendations of breeders from people you trust.  These might be other pet dog owners, dog trainers, vets, groomers or other people who work with animals in your area
  • Be prepared to wait for the right puppy. Most responsible breeders do not have puppies available all the time, they plan their litters carefully and often keep a waiting list.
  • Be prepared to answer lots of questions. A responsible, caring breeder will be concerned about where their puppies go and will want to know about your home, your family, your lifestyle and how you will care for your puppy.
  • A responsible breeder will be happy to answer your questions and will want to get to know you better. If you have prepared some questions, they will be able to see you have done your homework and that's the very best way you can start your search for your future family member. 

Here are some useful links to help you find a reputable registered breeder:

Dogs Tasmania Breeders' Directory (ANKC registered breeders in Tasmania)
Find a breeder in the pure breed dog community at Dogzonline (ANKC breeders Australia wide)

Read more about the latest Scamwatch findings on the ABC.  The article also includes some tips on How To Suss Out A Puppy Scam.