French bulldog most desired designer
dog to buy online
NEW figures reveal sheer scale of
online puppy market; and increasing problems of unsrcupulous breeders and
dealers. French bulldogs are the most searched for breed for sale online, new
figures released by Gumtree and the RSPCA reveal.
As new figures show there were more than 66,000 searches for the fashionable
breed in just 1 month (February 2017) on the popular classified online
marketplace, closely followed by Labradors and pugs, the RSPCA is highlighting
the risks and realities of buying puppies on the internet.
The figures also reveal that the use of online websites to sell and rehome dogs
has exploded within the last decade as Gumtree recorded a 785% increase in the
number of dogs being listed on its site in Great Britain in the past 10 years
(2007 to 2016).
Teaming up with Gumtree, the RSPCA has warned buyers to take care when looking
for dogs online as the internet can provide the perfect marketplace for the
unsrcupulous puppy trade which puts profit over welfare.
Justine Williams, from the RSPCA, said:- "These figures are hugely concerning as they show the sheer number of
people using the internet to buy and sell dogs. These are living, sentient
creatures, which are being traded as easily as a 2nd hand car or a piece of
classified websites, if used responsibly, can be an effective method of
advertising for responsible breeders and rescue organisations, sadly, far too
many people abuse the internet and this has led to many animal welfare issues
arising. The web provides the perfect marketplace
for unsrcupulous breeders and dealers to advertise puppies without arousing
suspicion. And traders are finding clever and cunning ways to fool not only the
buyers, but also the websites themselves.
The RSPCA has found that 87% of calls it receives on puppy trade issues are
those where the puppy was bought online."
Gumtree's research shows that in just one month (February 2017), almost 10,000
listings were posted on the site advertising dogs, while there were more than
286,000 searches by prospective buyers for 'puppies for sale'. And over a year,
204,182 adverts for dogs were posted on the classified site.
general manager at Gumtree UK, said:- "Whilst most people have safe and successful experiences rehoming dogs on
Gumtree, there are a minority of unsrcupulous breeders and dealers who put
profit ahead of the health and welfare of the animals. We take the welfare of animals very
seriously and work hard to ensure our site is a safe place to find pets in need
of rehoming. Our dedicated safety team takes steps to make it as hard as
possible for illegal traders to operate on the site. For example, we do not
allow 'wanted' ads in our 'Pets' category and we delete any ads we believe are
encouraging or indicate signs of animal cruelty. If users have concerns about an
ad on our site, they can use the 'Report an Ad' button on our website and our
safety team will then investigate it. Furthermore, Gumtree works closely with the RSPCA and the Pet Advertising
Advisory Group (PAAG) to help educate users on how to buy pets safely and
responsibly. Gumtree's own Pet Advice Hub includes lots of useful advice for
people looking to buy a new pet or find a home for a pet they already own."
Top 10 searched
breeds - (Based on data from Gumtree, February 2017):-
Number of searches
The most searched for breeds included pugs,
chihuahuas, dachshunds, Pomeranians and Yorkshire terriers, each attracting more
than 35,000 searches. The RSPCA fears the soaring demand for these fashionable
breeds is fuelling the puppy trade as demand drastically outstrips the numbers
coming to market via legitimate and responsible sources. In 2016, the UK's largest and oldest animal welfare charity saw its busiest
year tackling the underground puppy trade, receiving more calls than ever from
people reporting questionable breeders and dealers.
The RSPCA is seeing a steady rise in the number of complaints coming in about
the illegal puppy trade and, in 2016, dealt with 6% more calls than the previous
year, and 132% more than 5 years before.
RSPCA chief inspector Ian Briggs, who leads the charity's special investigations
into the puppy trade, said:- "There's huge demand for certain breeds of
dogs that have been popularised and, as responsible breeders struggle to keep up
with demand, underground breeders and traders are filling the gap in the market
and are offering buyers the chance to buy puppies at cheaper prices and without
waiting lists; often with disastrous consequences.
This is the price of poor puppy breeding; buyers faced with sick and dying
puppies who need intensive treatment or lifelong behavioural support; a surge in
these breeds coming into the care of rescue centres from people who did not do
their research before taking on a dog that requires a lot of time and
commitment; and an increase in the number of these breeds being abandoned either
because, as puppies, they didn't sell or became poorly, or as breeding stock
they couldn't produce litters anymore. Organisations like the RSPCA are left
picking up the pieces, and the animals are paying the ultimate price; often
with their lives. That's why we're urging families
considering getting a puppy over the summer holidays to be cautious when
choosing who and where to buy from and as hard as it may be; to walk away and
contact the RSPCA or the local authority if something doesn't seem right. Anyone
looking to buy a puppy should use the Puppy Contract to help ensure they are
buying a happy and healthy dog."
The RSPCA has released a video warning buyers what to look out for, and is
encouraging prospective buyers to consider re-homing a dog from a Rescue Centre.
If you're concerned about a breeder, please contact the RSPCA's 24 hour
emergency hotline on:- 0300 1234 999. And to help the RSPCA continue investigating
the illegal puppy trade and rescuing, rehabilitating and re-homing dogs saved
from puppy farms please visit:-
RSPCA.Org.UK/Give or text:- 'LOVE'
to 87023 to give ₤3 (Text costs ₤3 + 1
standard network rate message).