Eight-week-old crossbreed Ronnie was brought to Battersea Dogs and Cats Home on 2 January – giving him the dubious honour of becoming the first dog of to arrive at the charity this year. It came to no surprise at all to the staff to learn Ronnie was an unwanted Christmas gift who had been purchased online, and more like him are expected to begin flooding rescue centres in the coming weeks.
This rush to get rid of Christmas pups bought on a whim is only the epilogue of the sad reality that is the Christmas puppy market – a business that keeps flourishing despite animal welfare charities’ yearly pleads not to buy pups for Christmas. There is little doubt in the staff’s mind that Ronnie came from a puppy farm, although the buyer did reportedly see a bitch who was passed off as Ronnie’s mum.
Intake Manager Steven Craddock said, “It doesn’t shock any of us that the first dog through our doors in 2018 was bought online. Ronnie is just one of many thousands of dogs who will be bought off an unregulated website in the coming months and end up in a home where the owner is unprepared and unable to take proper care of them.”
It’s so easy to sell a dog online and this is one of the biggest challenges that Battersea faces today. I’d encourage anyone thinking of welcoming a new pet into their lives to consider rescue over shopping online
“His new owner did the right thing by bringing him into us where we can look after him and find him a loving new home, which we doubt will take long as he’s such a lovely boy. However, this doesn’t change the fact that he never should have been sold online in the first place. We believe he may have been taken from his mother far too young and likely sold by a breeder with absolutely no regard for his welfare.
“It’s so easy to sell a dog online and this is one of the biggest challenges that Battersea faces today. I’d encourage anyone thinking of welcoming a new pet into their lives to consider rescue over shopping online.”
Ronnie, who is now undergoing assessment, will be vaccinated and microchipped before being placed in a new home.
Images by Battersea Dogs and Cats Home.