Flea Market Puppies

Whether they are called Flea Markets, Swap Meets or Open Air Markets – these popular outdoor shopping bazaars are money making machines for the vendors who sell their products to bargain hunters.  They have also become a place for extreme animal neglect for fragile puppies, kittens and other pets.


Alongside selling the usual merchandise of used coffee pots, furniture and clothing; the majority of flea markets and swap meets allow vendors to sell live animals.  And for the most part, there are no laws regulating this practice. 


This has led to a lot of unethical breeders and merchants flooding this venue in hopes of making “easy money.” 


Across the country complaints have been reported about the cruel practices of these retailers. They are taking very young puppies and kittens away from their mothers before they are weaned and misrepresenting the ages of the animals to customers.  Most of the puppies and kittens haven’t been vaccinated or tested for contagious diseases.  Many of them are sick, infested with fleas, mange or worms.  And of course none of them are old enough to be spayed or neutered.  In some cases the animals have been reported to have diseases that can be transmitted to humans that touch or play with them.


Litters of puppies are crowded together in small cages and kept outdoors during the long hours of the swap meet; as if they were an inanimate product set out on a display table waiting for someone to buy them.


A news story from Jacksonville FL reported that a woman bought a Dachshund puppy named Pedro at a swap meet in the area.  Soon after she got home she realized the puppy was very sick and rushed him to a veterinary hospital.  The dog was diagnosed with Red Mange, which is a genetic disease that is often fatal.  Luckily for Pedro, his new human was committed to getting him the series of treatments needed for his illness.  When the news reporter came to the home of the merchant, she ran inside her house and locked the gate.  The paperwork for the puppy showed that he was illegally transported across the state border by the swap meet vendor.


On a recent sweltering day in July, a visitor to a swap meet in North Las Vegas, NV videotaped several litters of very young puppies crowded into cages all across the merchant’s booth.  When she questioned the vendor about the ages of the Chihuahua’s and Pit bulls, she was given a vague range of ages for the dogs. She also mentioned her concern that the puppies looked dehydrated and that the water in their bowls was too hot to drink, but the merchant seemed disinterested in this news.  


Another woman videotaped her experience at a flea market on the other side of the country.  The Pit bull puppies she found were 5-weeks-old and still needed to be bottle fed.  They were sitting in cages in 92 degrees with a towel draped over them for shade.  She reports in the video that the young couple who were selling the puppies was so hot they kept taking turns sitting in their cool car, but the puppies were left out all day long.  This woman rescued the entire litter of puppies, which she found were infested with fleas and had to be de-wormed. 


Flea market vendors are having great success selling these animals because they offer the most popular breeds of puppies and kittens at deeply discounted prices. And according to USA Today, “Sales pitches are tailored to prevailing customer preferences.  Many sellers promise their tiny-breed puppies will be smaller-than-usual adults,” because pocket-sized dogs are popular. “A seller of Pit bulls promises a young man that the puppy’s father is medium-aggressive,” because he knows that’s what he wants to hear. 


The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) reported that these breeders and merchants fall into a loophole in the Animal Welfare Act and can run their businesses with virtually no licenses or inspections.  Commercial breeders are monitored by the U.S Department of Agriculture, but the policy only applies to breeders who sell kittens and puppies wholesale to dealers or retail stores.  Breeding businesses that sell directly to the public are exempt from being monitored.  


But with pressure from the public and animal welfare groups that have become aware of the flea market crisis, a handful of municipalities have started issuing their own laws.  Currently these communities have put a ban on selling animals in outdoor venues such as parking lots, along roadsides, and at flea markets or swap meets: E. Baton Rouge LA, Memphis TN, Fort Worth TX, Harris County TX and all of Arizona.


If you witness an animal being mistreated or put at risk at one of these venues, report it to the local office of Animal Control.  Help stop this unethical practice.


Link to Video of Flea Market Puppy 



Photo: Best Friends Animal Society

Best Friends Animal Society


Valkyrie Skye
Valkyrie Skye5 years ago

I am so sick and tired of seeing poor defenseless animals treated like someone's unwanted attic junk. These people need to be thrown in jail and left to rot for how they treat these animals. I have seen at least 12 guinea pigs put into a storage bin, thank god they at least left off the top, and put on a shelf in front of a merchant's booth. These are living breathing creatures not old books. Why were they in a STORAGE BIN? Plus, the owner didn't even bother to put some food, water, bedding, or any other indication as it being the permenant living arrangements for those pets. How come no one has made a law against this kind of complete and total neglect. No, this is actually worse than neglect because when you neglect something, you at least acknowledge that it had some worth and you know of it's existence. I pray that those sick twisted merchants get what's coming to them! Granted I don't want them to get hurt, just to have the animals taken away and put in appropriate homes and the removal of the merchant's selling license. Too many animals have been treated like old junk that people don't want to throw away because they can make a profit. Birds with feathers missing, skin so infected that the animal seems to radiate waves of pain and suffering, way too many animals put into too small cages. I have even seen a puppy, far too young, in a hamster's cage with a sign proclaiming it can't go into a dog's cage because it has the swine flu. ENOUGH! Let these animals be treated lik

Laura S.
Laura S8 years ago

The 7% of people who voted "no" have no business being here. There needs to be a law against this ASAP!

sonia b.
sonia b8 years ago

please save our friends

Pam Rhia S.
.8 years ago

A Flea market is no place for animals to be sold. It is just cruel and inhumane. Also, I do not agree with people sitting at "Wally World", or in front of large stores selling puppies, kittens, or even giving them away. That is just not how they should do animals. Ir they truly cared about the welfare of their puppies etc, they would put an ad in the local paper and make sure they meet the potential new owners. That way you get an idea of who will be taking care of the new pet.

Teresa E.
Teresa E.8 years ago

Ripley Mississippi is notorious for this and there have been people in MY city (Fulton) who actually stole pets to sell there. If pets disappeared on "first Monday" or beforehand many times they would be found THERE.

The N.
Tim M8 years ago

ANY sentient being that profits from the exploitation of any other sentient being is in error on many different levels, and will someday account for this error. Such is karmic law. Breeders are lower than whale excrement. When you think about it, breeding is nothing less than a form of factory farming. The saddest part is that these people actually reproduce, and thus not only pass along their corrupted genes to another generation, but also often imbue their young with the same flawed character traits these genes create. This is not beneficial for a planet already in deep peril, and is all part of a vicious downward spiral, at the vortex of which is the fact that humans inexplicably believe that, as a species, their own rights and privileges are superior to anything else. Humans believe themselves to be the only species capable of reason (obvious speculation), yet at the same time they knowingly and willfully destroy themselves and their environment. Humans are expendable. A planet is not. The human ego is the most destructive force in the known universe. This is not an opinion. This is deductive reasoning.

Marge B.
Marge Brennan8 years ago

Flea Markets and any other so called markets should be baned for selling any kind of pet here in the USA. There are to many pets at the shelters that need good homes so adopt if you can My Sheba came from a shelter and she is a sweetheart of a K9

Mary C.
Mary C8 years ago

An-Drew B, what legal documents are you referring to?

An-Drew B.
An-Drew B8 years ago

i do not fill that animals being sold at Flea markets should be out lawed. These people that are selling animals should obtain the proper legal documents and have the in plain view for everyone to see. Their legal documents should be up to date and the mother and father of the animals should be present as well. If these people do not present the legal documents up to date and for everyone to see as well as the mothers and fathers of these animals then they should not be allowed to sell the animals. There should even be a posted phone number to report any of these people for not complying with the laws. This to goes for Breeders no matter where they are located.
Remember there really should not be any breeding of any animals for at least 30 years. The reason for this is due to the this world being very over populated with the animals of pure breed to mixed breeds. For every animal there are animal rescues and the animals in them will love to gain a for ever home with properly qualified people or persons.


An-Drew Boger
1:30 P. M. E. S. T.

Laurie T.
Laurie T8 years ago

How come legislators will not pass laws for the fur babies????? I do not understand after all these years this is still going on and there are no LAWS put in place to help save the fur babies from animal cruelty! Will this ever STOP, can someone answer this????