Pet Scams Are On The Rise: How to Protect Yourself and Your Pet.


Puppy and Kitten victims of pet scams

Pet Scams Are On The Rise

Recent reports in the media on “puppy factories”, unethical breeding practices and scams involving the sale of pets have highlighted the need for greater protection for breeding animals and the public.

A 2021 report by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) revealed that pet scams increased by a massive 48% from the previous year. An average of 9 Aussies per day reported being scammed when buying pets, and unscrupulous sellers are still targeting potential new pet parents.

In response, the NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) has launched a social media campaign to raise awareness of responsible breeding practices, the welfare of breeding animals, the legal requirements around the transfer of ownership of companion animals and other vital aspects.

French Bulldog Christmas Gift

4 Tips When Shopping For a New Pet

Research The Breed

Ensure you’ve carefully considered the breed or type of pet you plan to add to your family. For example, dogs bred to yap to alert a hunter and dig for their quarry may not be ideal options for families living in residential estates. Neighbours may be disturbed by the vocalisation, and Mum’s prize-winning garden will inevitably be redesigned.

Certain breeds are problematic for allergy sufferers, and active working dogs are unsuitable for families who often lack the time and space to exercise them.

Gorgeous as they are, if you choose a long-haired pet, be aware that it will require a lot of effort and budget to keep his coat in good condition.

Always familiarise yourself with the health conditions that your breed is predisposed to and the expected lifespan.

Will you be downsizing and moving into a retirement residence in a few years? Do you have a new baby – will you be able to give both your human and your furry baby the focus they need? Even if he’s gentle, a giant breed may not be the best idea if you have a toddler.

If you already have a pack of hunting dogs, you won’t want to expose a tiny kitten or rabbit to potential danger. Make sure that you do your homework and consider things from every angle.


Every pet has the right to the best possible care. This can end up being pricey, especially when you first get your new pet and have to budget for several sets of vaccinations and to desex, apart from the initial outlay for bowls, blankets, enclosures, toys, etc.

Two of the most important investments you can make in your new pet are a veterinary-endorsed premium diet (studies have proven that these can lengthen a pet’s life and improve his overall health and well-being) and socialisation. These should be included in your pet-care budget from Day One.

It’s an excellent idea to consider pet insurance so that you never have to worry about unexpected veterinary expenses putting a damper on the joy of pet parenting.

Choose a Reputable Breeder

Is your breeder a member of a registered breeder association? And has your new pet been microchipped and registered in the breeder’s name before rehoming (this is mandatory for NSW breeders)?

Can you view the facilities and satisfy yourself that your pet’s mother and siblings are in good health and that the environment is clean, comfortable and spacious enough for them to thrive in? Do they all appear to be well-adjusted and in good health?

Will your pet be at least eight weeks of age by the time you take ownership, and will you be provided with all healthcare documentation (e.g., vaccination and deworming)? Has the pet had a complete vet check, over and above jabs and treatment for parasites?

Have you been made aware of your rights as the purchaser?

Avoid Scams 

There are several ways that unscrupulous individuals take advantage of those who want to adopt a pet. 

If you experience any of the following, do yourself a favour and investigate further!

  • The breeder/seller won’t allow you to see your new pet before exchanging cash.
  • They want to meet you in a “convenient location” like a park or shopping centre parking lot.
  • The microchip number supplied can’t be validated on the NSW Pet Registry
  • You are required to make full payment upfront.

You can contact the NSW Fair Trading for assistance if you’ve bought a new pet and something has gone wrong.

Welcoming a new furry family member should be one of the most exciting and fun experiences one can have – the last thing you want is to find you’ve fallen victim to a pet scammer. Knowing your rights and researching will go a long way to helping avoid this. And bear in mind that your local rescue shelter may have the perfect pet to suit your lifestyle and household, so why not check this option out first?

Checklist for new pet-parents:

18089-Animal-welfare-campaign-Checklist-V5.pdf (

Other useful resources:

Animal Welfare Code of Practice – Breeding dogs and cats (the Breeding Code) (

NSW Fair Trading – Buying a Pet