Karen Wild: Buying a puppy '¨online? Beware!
Would you buy a sick, dangerous or 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, are just some of the shocking ads discovered.
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. It’s great when you are buying books, or clothes, but what about shopping for a puppy?
International welfare organisation FOUR PAWS carried out research on 42 classified ad sites across 10 countries world-wide. Some online sales sites have as many as 200,000 adverts featuring pets for sale online at any one time.
Julie Sanders at FOUR PAWS comments: “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”
The campaign asks for sales sites to verify sellers identity, so that there is no anonymous selling, and to run pre-checks to remove illegal and misleading ads before they go live. Mandatory health and documentation details help the buyer make an informed decision. In addition:
lSee 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. Never buy with cash. Choose local, so that you can return the puppy if there is a problem. Get a receipt.
lNever ‘buy from a bucket’ because you feel sorry for the pups. You are only making room for another. Choose a Kennel Club accredited breeder. See the pups at least twice before making a decision. Expect a good breeder to ask you many questions about your home. Good breeders will say no to you if they don’t think their pups will be suited. It is YOUR CHOICE. All puppies are cute, but they are not all healthy. We want to help animals, don’t we? Let’s stop the crooks.