Adopt, don’t buy, says DSPCA in response to surging ads for puppy sales online

12 Dec 2014

Christmas puppy image by Liliya Kulianionak/Shutterstock

Christmas-time has sparked a surge in online puppy sales, but the Dublin Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (DSPCA) advises potential pet-owners to adopt and not buy.

DSPCA CEO Brian Gillen expressed his concern regarding online pet sales at the launch of the charity’s Christmas campaign.

“Many people buy pets online not realising that these animals are being bred to order in appalling and stressful conditions with no regard for the long-term health of the animal,” he said. “Many animals are sick, have birth defects or have been treated very badly.”

According to DSPCA education and media officer Gillian Bird, the practice of selling animals online has been creeping in over the past number of years, driven by profit-seeking sellers and breeders, and buyers looking for a quick and easy way of getting pets for lower prices.

As an example, Bird points to Irish classified ads website, which she says is currently hosting more than 3,000 adverts for dogs, with an estimated three puppies per advert.

Bird’s advice to people hoping to pick up a pup for Christmas is to adopt from a rescue centre instead of buying from an online seller.

“Animals from a rescue centre such as the DSPCA are vet-checked, vaccinated, wormed, de-flead, microchipped and neutered,” she said. “You also get follow-up support and dog training.”

Online resources for pet adoption

While there are rising concerns around online sales of dogs and other animals, there are other ways the internet has helped the DSPCA to promote the charity and its services. For example, the DSPCA Facebook page and other social media channels have been used to bring online users’ attention to rescued animals in the organisation’s care, in the hopes of finding happy homes for some.

The DSPCA has also partnered with online trading platform So Sell It to establish So Adopt Me, a dedicated platform for adopting, not selling, animals.

“When we launched our initial intention was to not have a Pets category as we felt it would be difficult to regulate and we certainly didn’t want to risk promoting puppy farms or unregistered breeders,” said Ed Byrne, co-founder of So Sell It.

“However, we did feel that maybe there was something we could do to help find homes for the large number of shelter pets around the country. And so our partnership with the DSPCA began and ‘So Adopt Me’ was created!”

All of the animals featured on the So Adopt Me platform are from the DSPCA and their recommended animal shelters, and the focus is on rehoming many abandoned or mistreated pets that have ended up in their care.

Christmas puppy image by Liliya Kulianionak via Shutterstock

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.