Animal welfare charity Battersea Dogs & Cats Home is voicing concern at pets being bought online on a whim, then discarded when their new owners change their mind.
It follows the care of a thirteen-week of Chihuaha puppy who was bought online and then given up to the charity by her owners after just four days.
The puppy, named Coco, was an impulse purchase and her owner quickly realised they didn’t have the tie to train and look after a young puppy.
Becky Lodder, Dog Intake Manager at Battersa, said: “It’s good that Coco’s former owners did the responsible thing and brought her into Battersa when they realised they didn’t have the time to care for her. However, this story highlights the growing problem with people buying new pets impulsively online.
“These days you can purchase a pet as easily as a new watch or handbag. The ability to buy an animal with a single click can make it tempting to make rash decisions, without properly thinking through the practicalities and responsibilities that come with pet ownership.”
So far this year, Battersea has seen more than 280 dogs and cats come through their doors that were originally brought online.
Becky added: “Many animals bought online end up homeless because their owner realises they aren’t prepared for anything that pet ownership involves, or because their dog or cat has developed unexpected medical or behavioural issues, which weren’t mentioned in the advert. Though we do always advise that rescue is best, those that do decide to buy a pet elsewhere should do plenty of research first, think things through carefully, and only buy from reputable sources.”
Luckily, Coco has found her happy ending after being adopted from Battersea by Deborah Hall from South East London.
Coco’s new owner, Deborah hall said that the young Chihuahua has quickly made a big difference to her family. She said: “We came to Battersea looking for a pet to love and Coco has already given us more than we could imagine.
“She’s become really important for the whole family. My daughter has severe anxiety and has never wanted to leave the house by herself, but now she’s taking the dog for walks and talking to people when they ask about Coco.”
If you’re interested in rehoming a Battersea dog or cat, you can visit www.battersea.org.uk.