This month I saw another case where a young dog bought online was put to sleep with severe behaviour and health problems including severe skin issues, leaving behind a crying family and a seller that gets off scot-free.
Would you buy a sick, dangerous or even illegal animal from an online advert? How would you know? A puppy being swapped for a smart phone, a pit bull advertised illegally for professional dog fighting, illegally imported puppies from Lithuania, are just some of the shocking ads discovered during the research and all caused by a lack of proper regulation of the online pet trade.
Ah, the Internet. We used to disregard it as a new-fangled idea that cost loads of phone bill to access. Now, it replaces swathes of our everyday activity. Shopping is incredibly convenient. You don’t even need a premises for customers, and you can source pretty much anything. Just sit cosily and wait for the delivery.
That’s great when you are buying books, or clothes, but what about shopping for a puppy?
Fluffy and cute? Well, no. Here’s the cold, hard news. International welfare organisation FOUR PAWS has carried out research on 42 classified ad sites across 10 countries world-wide (Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, the Netherlands, Romania, South Africa Switzerland and the UK).
Some online sales sites have as many as 200,000 adverts featuring pets for sale online at any one time, with over 4 million viewers.
Julie Sanders, International Director of Companion Animals Department at FOUR PAWS, tells of a positive move. “As part of the campaign we have developed an online tool which ranks the more commonly used classified ad sites to show the public which sites could be putting them, and indeed the animals, at risk: www.petdeception.org.”
Special welfare measures have been taken up by some of the sites, helping potential pet parents to choose the better sources. Such measures mean that classified ads sites are:
· Having to verify sellers identity, so that there is no anonymous selling on the sites for animal sales, to help stop illegal activity
· Running pre checks of all adverts to remove illegal, misleading or inappropriate adverts before they go live
· Having mandatory information in the ad on the animal for example important care, health and documentation details to help the buyer make an informed decision when buying a pet
· Having in place and enforcing a list of animals which are banned from being sold on the site including primates, endangered and wild caught animals, underage animals and pregnant animals to help address animal welfare issues
With all these measures, there are still many lies and stories spun around puppies for sale. Remember my golden rules:
- See the Mum and make sure she is the right one. Many puppy farms sell on to agents who pretend their own dog is the mother. I never buy a puppy unless I can see Mum, Dad, Aunties, Uncles, older brothers and sister dogs. How else will I know what this puppy will grow into?
- Never buy with cash
- Choose local, so that you can return the puppy if there is a problem. Get a receipt of sale. Get a puppy contract (see the Kennel Club details on this).
- Never ‘buy from a bucket’ because you feel sorry for the puppies. You are only making room for another. Choose an accredited breeder from the Kennel Club wherever possible.
- See the puppies at least twice before making a decision
- Expect a good breeder to ask you many many questions about your home. Good breeders will say no to you if they don’t think their pups will be suited.
- Remember. It is YOUR CHOICE. All puppies are cute, but they are not all healthy. You will be caught out, as many kind, intelligent, caring people are.
Still not convinced?
Watch this fabulous video from FOUR PAWS to really help, and please share this blog as far and wide as you can. Visit www.petdeception.org to see updates and let potential buyers know about the project. We want to help animals, don’t we? So let’s stop the crooks.