Be a responsible pet owner

Leading animal welfare organisations call on the public to do their homework before getting pets via online websites

In the run up to Christmas last year, 37% of people clicked on IPAAG advertisements looking for advice were searching the internet for “puppies for sale”

As Christmas approaches and the demand for puppies’ increases, the Irish Pet Advertising Advisory Group (IPAAG) is reminding potential buyers to beware of the pitfalls of responding to online advertisements for puppies and other pets to ensure that they ask the right questions to avoid falling victim to rogue breeders, who put profits before animal welfare.

In 2015, leading animal welfare organisations (ISPCA, Dogs Trust, IHWT, Donkey Sanctuary, Irish Blue Cross and MADRA) along with representatives from the veterinary profession and websites advertising pets for sale joined forces to develop a set of minimum standards for websites to help protect the welfare of animals that are advertised online and ensure that any illegal activity is identified and investigated.

IPAAG has been targeting unscrupulous breeders by reporting inappropriate online adverts in breach of the IPAAG minimum standards where they were acting illegally and compromising the welfare of innocent animals to make a quick profit.

Since its launch, IPAAG has used Google Ads to educate people searching for pets being advertised online.  As a result over one million impressions and 22,485 clicks to the IPAAG website was reached specifically targeting people who were looking to source a pet online, but may not be aware of the risks or how to protect themselves from unscrupulous breeders. This highlights that people do want advice prior to getting a puppy, however they may not have thought to seek it or known where to go prior to seeing the IPAAG advertisements.

IPAAG Chairman Dr Andrew Kelly said:  “We would always encourage prospective pet owners to consider adopting an animal from a reputable rescue organisation. However, we recognise that people will often turn to their computers when looking to buy or sell almost anything and whether we like it or not that includes pets. Animal welfare organisations regularly hear from people who have sourced a pet online only for it to fall sick and in some cases die soon after, which is awful for the animal concerned and heart breaking for the owners. Anyone looking to get a new pet should follow the IPAAG check list to avoid the pit falls of becoming a victim of unscrupulous breeders. Some websites, such as Done Deal are very cooperative, are complying with the minimum standards and do report adverts of concern to the appropriate authorities, but others are less cooperative. I would also like to remind people to never give a puppy or any other animal as a surprise gift at Christmas or any other time of the year.”

IPAAG is urging anyone thinking of getting a new pet to carefully research where your new pet has originated from and to be aware of unscrupulous breeders who are putting profits before animal welfare. Getting a pet on impulse poses an enormous risk and to avoid unintentionally obtaining a pet from a rogue breeder, it is also important that you consider the long term commitment and financial resources required before taking on a new addition to the family.

For further information, please visit www.ipaag.ie.

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