Surge for pet dogs pushes illegal puppy trade

The dogs here are being sold by an illegal trader.

As the demand for furry companions rises while Germans are told to work from home, so is the illegal dog trade from eastern Europe into the country.

Karsten Pluecker runs a dog shelter and says the surge in demand for pets is putting an extra burden on shelters.

"There have been mafia-style goings on in the puppy trade for a long time now. Large gangs bring the dogs into Germany from Eastern Europe to sell them here. And on top of this are now private individuals who bring dogs in from eastern Europe and are also selling them here."

He explains it’s the shelters who are often carrying the costs for treatment and quarantining of any illegal dogs found.

Pluecker warns the black-market trade is not only damaging to the dogs but can create unforeseen costs for unsuspecting buyers who may end up with hefty vet bills for dogs with hidden illnesses.

Prices for certain dogs have also risen significantly with dachshunds going for 3,000 euros in some cases compared with 1,000 a year ago.

Animal welfare groups are urging Germans to make sure that they are buying from a trusted source.

They have also issued a plea - that a dog is for life not just for lockdown.

Video Transcript

- The dogs here are being sold by an illegal trader. As the demand for furry companions rises while Germans are told to work from home, so is the illegal dog trade from Eastern Europe into the country. Karsten Pluecker runs a dog shelter and says the surge in demand for pets is putting an extra burden on shelters.

INTERPRETER: There have been mafia-style goings on in the puppy trade for a long time now. Large gangs bring the dogs into Germany from Eastern Europe to sell them here. And on top of this are now private individuals who bring dogs in from Eastern Europe and are also selling them here.

- He explains it's the shelters who are often carrying the costs for treatment and quarantining of any illegal dogs found. Pluecker warns the black market trade is not only damaging to the dogs, but can create unforeseen costs for unsuspecting buyers who may end up with hefty vet bills for dogs with hidden illnesses. Prices for certain dogs have also risen significantly, with dachshunds going for 3,000 euros in some cases, compared with 1,000 a year ago. Animal welfare groups are urging Germans to make sure that they are buying from a trusted source. They have also issued a plea-- that a dog is for life, not just for lockdown.