Celebrities are being offered free puppies “like pairs of shoes” the Mirror can reveal following the uproar over the death of a dog flown in from Russia to the UK.
The focus fell on their Cheshire-based breeders Tiffany Puppies, run by Elena Katerova, who admitted flying in dogs thousands of miles from Russia.
It comes despite Lucy’s Law being introduced in England in April which was designed to prevent third-parties being involved in the sales of puppies.
Now in a damning expose, we can reveal how:
* Breeders can import dogs from abroad without a licence if they act as an “agent”
* Unscrupulous breeders are targeting reality stars with huge social media followings to help plug their business in return for free or discounted dogs
* A host of other stars have acquired dogs from Tiffany – including a dog charity ambassador.
Former Love Island star Olivia Attwood was among stars to be previously offered free dogs by an unnamed breeder in exchange for publicity on her social media platforms.
The TV personality, who has nearly two million followers on Instagram, yesterday slammed unscrupulous dealers who carry out this practice.
She said: “Since I’ve come out of Love Island I’ve had breeders messaging me offering me free dogs like they are a f****** pair of shoes or something.
“It’s just horrendous and I really don’t want to go and pile on Mollie and Tommy because it’s not about them.
“If the law was stricter these establishments wouldn’t be able to operate.
“There is no care in that kind of breeding. Taking dogs from third parties is purely a money-making industry and the mother dog’s existence is miserable until they can no longer produce puppies and then they are basically disposed of.
“For everyone who has had a dog from this kind of breeder and is doing ‘my dog is fine’. Good for you but the whole chain of misery that follows that dog isn’t fine.”
Another Love Island star who had a Pomeranian from Tiffany was Laura Anderson. The star, a judge this year on virtual dog show Bark Aid, said that after Molly-Mae’s dog died she would no longer recommend the business.
Her publicist didn’t comment directly on whether her dog had been imported from Russia but admitted Laura “feels like she’s one of the lucky ones”. Her publicist said: “She was recommended Tiffany Puppies two years ago and being a UK breeder with impeccable reviews she assumed al thel regulations were in place.
“Buddy came with all vaccine documentation and is a perfect, healthy dog. She wouldn’t recommend Tiffany Puppies due to the loss of Mr Chai… and witnessing Molly-Mae’s heartache.”
Other stars who acquired puppies from Tiffany include Love Island star Belle Hassan and The Real Housewives of Cheshire star Dawn Ward. Both denied their dogs were imported in from Russia.
Belle said her “long haired Chihuahua was born in the UK and was kept alongside his mum and dad until the day I collected him. I’ve since had the dog immunised, it was given a full health check which was all clear.”
Pictures of Watford striker Gerard Deulofeu with a dog are also featured on Tiffany’s Instagram. He didn’t reply to requests for comment. Social media has been ablaze with dog lovers slamming stars associated with Tiffany given their operations in Russia, even if their puppy from the breeder was born in England.
Marc Abraham, founder of Lucy’s Law, said celebrities were unwitting pawns.
“I am conscious of blaming people who are trying to do the right thing and are engaging in a business that is on paper completely legitimate.
“If someone has gone underground to get a puppy, then by all means have a go at them.” On Molly-Mae and Tommy, he praised the pair for admitting their mistakes.
In a weepy YouTube video Love Island star Molly-Mae urged people to think twice about importing from Russia and added that she was told the dog was in full health, but it was riddled with illness.
Marc said: “They could have hidden away, they could have got a puppy replacement and pretended it never happened. But they went on camera to admit their mistakes so people don’t make the same.”
The Mirror-backed Lucy’s Law is named after Lucy, a Cavalier King Charles spaniel who was rescued from a puppy farm where she was subjected to terrible conditions. But the Mirror can reveal how English breeders can act as agents and arrange a sale abroad to import puppies without a licence.
“It’s unaccountable and there are issues of welfare,” a source said.
Lucy’s Law Marc added: “Puppies should always be bought from the UK and you should always see their mum. Separation and long distance transportation can only be detrimental for the puppy’s welfare and that of the mother.”
Katerova, who runs Tiffany, denies breaking any rules and says she has “legitimate partners, family and resources in Russia” and clients see the mother and pup via videos.
She said in a statement: “Mr Chai was a healthy dog. I have a small network of reputable breeders who care for their dogs to the very highest standards.”
Her spokeswoman declined to answer questions on the process of how she imported dogs from Russia and whether she acted as an agent.