The Truth Behind Online Puppy Sales Documentary Debuts


CAPS’ Short Documentary Reveals the Deceptive Sales Practices and Puppy Mill Breeders Associated with Internet Puppy Sellers

As CAPS’ work decreases the number of pet shops, more people are buying puppies online. USDA breeders who were previously selling to pet shop are now selling online. CAPS has been investigating online puppy sales since 2010.

The Truth Behind Online Puppy Sales shows CAPS’ undercover investigations of puppy millers who sell online, often without a required USDA license. There are also interviews with customers who bought puppies over the internet, They discuss how they relied on the deceit and misrepresentations made by these online puppy sellers and their websites.

During Covid, people weren’t out shopping, and this created a demand for online dogs. While many people went to shelters and rescues, many others started buying puppies online.

Craigslist and Recycler feature numerous puppy sellers. These puppies often come from Mexico and can have parvovirus, distemper, or other highly contagious diseases. Facebook and Instagram also have an abundance of puppy sellers. Some online sellers have websites.

PuppyFind, now called is the leading online marketplace. Other online sellers include:,, and Puppy Spot’s advisory board includes Ron DeHaven, the former  APHIS/USDA administrator, whose interview on the Dateline story we generated, elicited the most anger by viewers.

The lesson is: Never buy online, never buy a dog sight unseen, it doesn’t matter how reputable the breeder seems. The rule is: if you buy the dog sight-unseen – in other words, you see the puppy in a photo, video or through FaceTime or Zoom –  and then the company or breeder delivers the puppy to you, that is still a sight-unseen purchase. And that seller needs a USDA license.

Online sellers follow standard protocol: they show pictures of children playing with the dogs, and testimonials, making it look like the dogs are part of their families. Online sellers also run “guardian programs,” where they will give dogs to customers for free as long as they promise to breed the dogs and then give the sellers the puppies.

Puppy Heaven in Las Vegas — CAPS recently won a false advertising case against this pet shop, which we investigated several times  — and other pet shops also sell online and transport puppies to other states. Many of these pet shops, including Puppy Heaven, do not have a USDA license.

Here are some  of the online puppy sellers/breeders investigated by CAPS, many of whom we feature in The Truth Behind Online Puppy Sales:

No USDA license

Tom Grove

Cindy Lancaster
Crystal Savage

Marilyn Yoder

Vicky Harman
Debra Lott
Tricia Lyles  
Theresa Martin

Young Van Roekel

USDA license

Steve Kruse
Ed Van Doorn
Lucky Puppy Co (Select Puppies)

Roger and Marla Campbell
Kelly Chandler and Wayne Prentice
Judy Koehn

Danny and Tina Boyd
Melanie Moore
Esther Pointer
Paige Robinson
Angela Stephens
Ed Van Doorn

Lisa Fielder

Vicki Tidwell

Amos Allgyer

How you can help:

  • Watch the full documentary.
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  • Please donate today to make more investigations and documentaries like this possible.





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