Law Enforcement Division
Border Puppy Task Force
Thousands of underage puppies, usually toy breeds, are brought into the U.S. for resale via the border crossing stations annually. Many are later discovered to be sick, potentially creating a health epidemic for animals and people in the U.S. Compounding this problem are inhumane breeding and transportation issues and an existing animal overpopulation problem. People may spend thousands of dollars on veterinary bills for a puppy in very poor health, which often times dies.
Consumers: Beware of Purchasing Puppies from Unknown Sources
The following are some tips before purchasing a pet from a private seller:
- Make sure a veterinarian has checked the animal’s health. Request vaccination records from the seller and call to confirm the records with the veterinarian. Animals can be vaccinated as early as 6 weeks but must be 16 weeks or older before they can receive their rabies vaccine.
- Don’t purchase an animal on a street corner, in an alley or parking lot, or at a swap meet.
- Cash transactions can’t be traced back to the seller. Don’t pay cash. Ask for a receipt. Make sure your receipt includes an imprint of the seller’s name, address and license number.
- Try to meet the seller where the animal has been living. The animal’s living conditions in the first months of life could have a long-term effect on their health and/or behavior. A responsible seller cares for their animals in a clean and sanitary environment.
spcaLA Fights to Stop Puppies Smuggled Across the Border
spcaLA Humane Officers participate in the Border Puppy Task Force, which consists of several Southern California animal agencies. The goal of the task force is to reduce and eliminate the illegal smuggling and selling of under-aged animals. spcaLA Humane Officers routinely deploy to the California/Mexico border for weeks of around-the-clock shifts to recover sick and under-aged puppies.
If you would like to report the purchase of a sick puppy or a puppy peddler, please call 1-800-540-SPCA (7722).