Battersea Cats and Dogs Home is urging the public to consider rescuing an animal rather than using the internet to buy a dog.
They are urging the public to think before they click and do their research before considering taking on a dog as a pet.
The animal charity released new statistics today showing they took in 404 dogs that were originally bought online in 2018 – up from 355 in 2017.
While some of these dogs are much-loved pets, others were brought into Battersea after their owners bought them online impulsively, before realising they couldn’t cope with the responsibility of owning a dog.
These include dogs like Truffle, a 12-week-old Jack Russell Terrier, who was brought into Battersea in December 2018, His owner had bought him after seeing an internet ad and met the seller at a train station, where the young dog was handed over wrapped in a towel.
Truffle’s new owner quickly realised she’d underestimated what having a puppy entailed and wasn’t able to devote the time needed to care for him. She made the responsible decision to take him to Battersea.
The online ad had promised Truffle would be microchipped and vaccinated, but Battersea’s vet quickly discovered neither of these things had been done. Battersea staff strongly suspect Truffle may have originally come from a puppy farm. This is a story sadly repeated up and down the country all too frequently.
Battersea’s Centre Manager, Steve Craddock, said: “Luckily Truffle’s story has a happy ending and he’s gone to a lovely new home, but this just illustrates how online sales platforms have become a vehicle for irresponsible breeders. There are, of course, many genuine sellers online, and some websites are taking steps to improve in this area, but too many backstreet breeders and puppy farmers are still benefiting from the system.
“We’d always encourage people to consider a rescue dog. However, if you do decide to buy elsewhere – particularly if you’re getting a puppy – make sure you do your research to ensure you’re not unintentionally fuelling backstreet breeders or puppy farmers.”
Battersea also sees many animals coming through their gates because they have unexpected behavioural or medical issues, which their owners weren’t told about when they bought them online.
Steve continues: “You can now buy an animal in seconds and it’s very tempting to be sucked in by the cute photos. Online pet sales have become a huge industry and research shows that a new dog advert is created online every two minutes, while a cat advert goes up every four minutes. Sadly, the reality can be very different from the pictures and it’s difficult to know if the animal you’re getting will match up to the advertisement.
“It’s animal rescue centres that then pick up the pieces and so we’re asking people to, please think before you click and remember that a pet is a huge responsibility. Better yet, consider coming into Battersea and adopting one of the many dogs here looking for a home. All our animals have had thorough medical or behavioural assessments, so you’ll know exactly what you’re getting.”
To find out more about the dogs and cats waiting for a second chance at Battersea, visit www.battersea.org.uk.