RSPCA investigators hope the public can provide vital details for two major inquiries into illegal puppy sales.
Inspectors are investigating two separate alleged brokers and breeders - one selling puppies in public in the Macedon Ranges Shire, Mitchell Shire and Whittlesea council areas, the other in the Colac Otway Shire area.
The RSPCA alleges the puppies were being sold from public areas near schools, service stations and carparks.
Breeds included bull terriers, great Danes and kelpies, some of which allegedly required veterinary treatment soon after purchase.
The sale of animals in public places such as parks, roadsides and car parks is illegal.
People should report any information on sales to the RSPCA as soon as possible, inspectors have urged.
Members of the public who may have information relating to the sale of puppies in these areas are urged to contact RSPCA Victoria directly as soon as possible.
The major investigations unit's Lisa Calleja said the RSPCA was fielding a higher number of reports on animal sales in public places in the age of coronavirus.
"High demand for pets during the pandemic meant many Victorians sought alternate sales channels and unknowingly purchased animals from illegal businesses that sell animals from public places to hide the location of their operations," she said.
"The subjects of RSPCA Victoria investigations are often sophisticated networks that use covert methods so our inspectorate team relies on the public for information that may assist with investigations.
"Significant investigations and successful prosecutions do eventuate as a direct result of tip offs from the public so we encourage anyone with information to make a report. Sometimes things that may seem insignificant can be the missing element in an investigation."
All reports made to RSPCA Victoria's Major Investigations Team must be lodged via www.rspcavic.org/services/tip-off or by calling 9224 2222.
Facebook messages and emails through unofficial channels do not constitute an official cruelty report.
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