It’s increasingly common to see reports about people who have picked up a problem by buying an animal from an online classified ad site.
Getwestlondon has recently featured families who have bought dogs via online adverts only to experience the dogs dying.
Poor regulations have allowed many classified ad sites to become havens for deception and animal suffering.
Only last month I wrote about the problems of puppy farming which is often associated with online adverts and how Pup Aid, supported by celebrities such as Marc Abraham and Ricky Gervais, campaigns against this cruel practice.
Part of the problem is the thousands of pets for sale on websites where little is done to prevent deceptive practices or protect the animal being sold or the person acquiring a pet.
The charity Four Paws has developed a set of measures to help secure the well-being of such animals.
Measures include ad sites having to verify the seller’s identity so there is no anonymous selling, pre-checking all adverts before they go live to remove misleading adverts, featuring mandatory information in the ad and putting in place a list of animals unsuitable for selling on the site.
To read about their campaign and sign their petition calling on eBay Classifieds Group, who own numerous classified ad sites including Gumtree, to take the lead and adopt their measures, see four-paws.org.uk.
You can also use the online Four Paws Pet Deception Detector to see the extent to which classified ad sites have implemented the measures.
But why get an animal from an online classified ad when we have animal rescue charities where documents are genuine and animals are health checked, microchipped and, if old enough, neutered before homing?
For example, take Zuri (Mum to these kittens), who was found as a stray.
When taken to a vet by Hounslow Animal Welfare Society (HAWS), she was found to have no microchip and be pregnant.
She later delivered five kittens - three white and two black and white. Sometimes white cats are deaf but HAWS don’t currently know if this is the case for any of these.
Zuri’s kittens are to be homed in pairs and one with the Mum.
If you would like the peace of mind that comes with knowing you are getting your animal from a bona fide organisation call 020 8560 5443 or see haws-animals.co.uk.