London – 9 April; 13,538 puppies are currently advertised on Gumtree and Pets4Homes and they could be yours at the click of a button. During lockdown there were surges in searches for, and sales of puppies and as a result global animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS and prosecution charity, Animal Protection Services have joined forces to launch an online reporting system called Stop Puppy Traders.
The online form will allow concerned members of the public to report cases of unlicensed breeders and illegally imported puppies to the team. Investigators and prosecutors will scrutinize every report to build a case to take to court. Last month in a ground breaking turn of events, 42 cases have been take to courts across the country by Animal Protection Services.
“We are delighted to be working with Animal Protection Services to give a voice to the animals who are overlooked and seen simple as profit-making. Whilst FOUR PAWS advocates an #adoptdontshop approach to pet ownership we understand that some people struggle to find the right pet for them and we want to offer support to those that have suffered at the hands of those callous breeders and traders. We believe Stop Puppy Traders will seek justice for victims of this low risk, high reward trade and demonstrate that such abuses cannot continue.”
Emily Wilson, FOUR PAWS Head of Campaigns
The launch of Stop Puppy Traders comes after 20 cases of unlicensed breeders were heard at Lancaster Court. A spokesperson from Animal Protection Services alludes to this being the tip of the iceberg: “We have detected around 40 potential unlicensed breeders in the Lancaster area therefore that is a concern. To hear so many cases is ground-breaking and we hope it sends a clear signal that this objectification of animals is no longer ok.”
FOUR PAWS has campaigned on the illegal puppy traders for many years and has created a Model Solution focusing on the introduction of full traceability of all breeders and sellers to allow greater transparency for potential buyers. Successful implementation of the Model Solution would render illegal puppy dealers unable to sell via their main channel to market, online classified sites. Anonymity remains a central problem of the illegal puppy trade and this increased transparency would allow buyers greater piece of mind that they are acquiring a healthy dog from a reputable source.
If you have been affected by an unlicensed breeder or an illegally imported puppy please fill out the form on Stop Puppy Traders and help FOUR PAWS and Animal Protection Services to clamp down on the trade.