Animal care and control

Buying or adopting a pet

Buying or adopting a pet is an exciting time, but it's important know about the person behind the advert.

When you’re looking for a new cat or dog, you’re more likely to come across deceitful sellers than you might think. These sellers mistreat animals to make money.

It's important to do your research so you know your new pet has come from a responsible seller. If you don't, you may find your pet has severe health problems or won't have been socialised with other animals or people. This can have tragic consequences.

Don't get 'Petfished'

You may have heard of 'Catfishing', where a stranger invents an online persona to lure someone into a relationship. Deceitful pet sellers use a similar tactic to 'Petfish' unsuspecting buyers.

They pretend the puppy or kitten they're selling you comes from a happy home. In reality, the animal may have been bred or kept in poor conditions.

For advice on buying or adopting a pet, go to GOV.UK: Get your pet safely.

You can also watch the following videos made by the government. First, getting a puppy or kitten – don’t get Petfished, research the seller.

'The 12 Days of Petfished', below, tells a story of a young puppy whose owners buy him from a deceitful seller. It shows the potential consequences for others who may fall into this trap.