In August 2018, leading classified advertising site Gumtree UK, owned by eBay, announced they would be introducing a mandatory paywall for people advertising pets on its site. This was an encouraging step towards cracking down on illegal puppy traders as all sellers would be required to enter their personal information, making a suspicious seller traceable to the authorities.
We welcome this decision as a step towards protecting puppies sold online but there is still work to be done to strengthen enforcement and regulation of the trade. The FOUR PAWS Model Solution details how we can fully protect dogs and puppies sold online, and these recommendations must be implemented to truly protect our puppies.
We have exposed shocking evidence of the highly lucrative and unscrupulous business in which “trend breed” puppies, such as Dachshunds, French Bulldogs and Pugs, are subjected to immense cruelty to meet a surging demand for fashionable pups. Fuelled by an organised network of puppy breeders and dealers in the UK and overseas, Gumtree, along with other classified ad sites has become a haven for their cruel trade.
Brought into the UK under the guise of being ‘home bred’, many of these young dogs originate from puppy farms in Eastern Europe and many suffer from a variety of health issues. Often, they are taken from their mothers far too early, not vaccinated properly and poorly socialised. They are subsequently sold to unwitting families in the UK, who end up with the heartbreak and expense of purchasing a sick and poorly bred puppy.
To tackle this growing problem, we launched ‘ThankseBay’ calling on eBay internationally to implement mandatory seller identify verification across all its classified ad sites (such as Gumtree) to provide better protection for pets and people and rebuild consumer trust in the sites. Over 200,000 people signed FOUR PAWS’ petition, and thanks to YOUR HELP Gumtree UK have now taken this great first step – so THANK YOU! We will continue to work with other sites too in order to ensure we can protect our four-legged friends and the potential families.
FOUR PAWS International Head of Companion Animals Campaigns, Joanna Randall, said, ‘Gumtree’s actions have been a step in the right direction for animal welfare, although there is still more work to be done. The illegal trade in puppies has significantly increased over the years facilitated by the availability and ease of the online trade. The anonymity guaranteed by classified sites has been a major concern, so we welcome Gumtree’s implementation of a paywall, but will continue to push our Model Solution as we believe this offers the optimum protection for puppies sold online.’