The invisibility of pet sellers who advertise through websites allows vendors and breeders to avoid legislation and breed pets in unregulated and often poor conditions. National Animal Charity Blue Cross is trying to change legislation to protect the thousands of pets sold online each year.
Ogmore Assembly Member and Welsh Government Minister Huw Irranca-Davies met up with Charity members at the Senedd to hear about vulnerable pets being exploited by sellers who remove kittens and puppies from their mums too early, do not get them vaccinated against deadly diseases and keep them in poor conditions. They are then likely to grow into fearful, stressed adults who may get discarded and abandoned through no fault of their own.
The Ogmore AM stated: “We are a nation of animal lovers but the scale of online pet sales has become a real cause for concern. Last year in Wales, three leading classified websites posted over thirty seven thousand adverts for dogs, cats and rabbits – seven hundred and sixty from here in Ogmore. More often than not the sellers are unlicensed and prioritise profit over animal welfare. This has to stop and all pets should be sold with the correct care advice.”
Becky Thwaites, Head of Public Affairs at Blue Cross said: “We are shocked at the vast number of online adverts there are for the sale of pets across Wales. The huge marketplace for potentially thousands of pets sold online is almost completely unregulated, making it virtually impossible for local authorities to enforce animal welfare standards and protect these vulnerable young animals and those who buy them. We must make sure that all breeders and sellers are registered and licensed and that local authorities have the tools, training and budget needed to properly protect pets who are sold online.”
The top three dog breeds advertised online in Wales in 2017 were French bulldogs, Chihuahuas and pugs – all vulnerable to serious genetic health conditions but over a third of UK dog owners were not made aware of any hereditary health conditions associated with the breed they bought. Many owners are not aware that the snoring, panting and snorting in these breeds of dogs is not ‘cute’ but indicating they are struggling to breathe and in distress.
For more information about Blue Cross visit www.bluecross.org.uk