Where did your pet come from? If they’re a rescue animal or an older pet, then they may have a mystery past. If you’re getting a puppy or a kitten, then you may expect to know everything about your new pet– but what if you’re buying an animal from the internet? Just as we may have found that an item bought online is rather different to what we expected, so purchasing an animal can bring unexpected results.
According to new research from the Kennel Club, one in three puppies are bought from various online sources. Nearly a fifth of these will die before they reach six months old.
This means heartache for you, the proud new owner, or the expense of veterinary bills if you end up with a pet with health problems.
One of the most high-profile sources of online pet buying are ‘puppy farms’.
What is a puppy farm?
Puppy farms are commercial enterprises, designed to extract the maximum amount of profit from breeding and selling puppies. They are considered to be the equivalent of battery farms for chickens, with the care and welfare of the breeding dogs and puppies bottom of their list of priorities.
Never purchase a puppy or kitten without seeing the mum. According to the Kennel Club, around a third of people DON’T currently do this. The mother is the biggest influence on the puppy or kitten’s behaviour and personality, so this should give you a good guide as to the likely temperament of your future pet.
A properly raised pet should be well-socialised and should not appear frightened of people.
See the pet in their living conditions, whether that’s inside the house or in kennels.
Being asked to meet at a location ‘half-way’ to pick up your pet.
A seller who is only interested in making a sale, rather than assessing whether you’ll make a good owner.
A number of different breeds being sold by the same person.
If they are vague regarding the paperwork or say they’ll send it along later.
The price seems either oddly cheap or very expensive (do some general research to see how much your chosen breed normally costs).
This is not to suggest that ALL internet sellers are to be avoided! Responsible, registered breeders can be found on the websites of individual breed clubs, as well the Kennel Club and General Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF) sites.
Likewise, there are plenty of people who may not be professional breeders, but have the best interests of the animals at heart and want to find good homes for them.
Use the tips above and your own gut instinct- if you feel that something is wrong, then you’re probably right!
If you think you have located a puppy farm then let your local authority know and they can investigate.
As there is currently very little in the way of regulations of breeders, pets are relying on you to help identify irresponsible sellers and report them.
There are a number of campaigns designed to monitor and police methods used to sell animal online, and the Pets Advertising Advisory Group (PAAG), with the support of a number of leading animal charities, has recently published a set of minimum standards for UK websites displaying animal advertising. Should you suspect that an advertisement is fraudulent or illegal (eg. advertising a dog ‘for fighting’), then please contact them.
We know that you want peace of mind that your new pet is healthy. That’s why we offer free health checks: simply call ahead to book your appointment and bring your new pet in to see us once you’ve picked them up.
That way we can identify any possible health issues, or (hopefully) send them home with you with a clean bill of health!
One of our vets can also provide you with information and answer any questions you may have about caring for your new pet.
Visit http://www.pupaid.org/ to find out more about their anti-puppy farming campaign.
Also visit https://submissions.epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/49528 to sign their petition appealing for legal banning of selling a puppy without allowing buyers to see the mother too.
Or drop in at http://www.getgumtreeanimalfree.org.uk/ to support their campaign to remove animal listings from Gumtree.
Posted January 17, 2014 in Pet Care Advice