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Avoid being #Petfished when buying a new pet – advice from the UK Government ‘Petfished’ Campaign.

#PetFished - do you know the person behind the pet?

Avoid being #Petfished when buying a new pet – advice from the UK Government ‘Petfished’ Campaign.


Whilst we have seen a recent rise in the UK’s pet population, with PFMA’s recent survey showing that 3.2 million UK homes now have a pandemic pet, this #NationalPetMonth 2021 we encourage any prospective pet owners who may still be considering acquiring a pet to remain cautious of deceitful sellers.

You 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. Sadly, puppies or kittens reared in low-welfare conditions are also more likely to suffer from long-term diseases or die prematurely.

The Petfished campaign aims to help buyers spot the signs of these deceitful sellers.

Chief Veterinary Officer Christine Middlemiss said: “Prospective pet owners must beware of sinister sellers out there who breed animals purely for profit with zero concern for their welfare. The devastating consequences include crippling vet bills and, in the worst cases, animals having to be put down.  

It’s vitally important that people not only research the breed of animal they want but also the person selling it to them.”

Changes in the law are helping to put an end to this practice. ‘Lucy’s Law’, which came into force in England from 6th April 2020, banned the third-party sale of puppies and kittens. It is now 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, #WhosBehindThePet? 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.










To find out how to spot the signs of deceitful sellers, and make sure your new pet comes from a happy, healthy environment, please visit:



Press Office

For media information, images or to speak to a spokesperson about National Pet Month please contact Taz Thornton or Asha Clearwater at Turquoise Tiger on +44 (0)7920 461 044 or email

Please note we have access to a range of spokespeople via our coordinators, sponsors and most animal welfare organisations and charities who get involved with NPM.

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