A young puppy surrendered to a rescue soon after purchase is sadly not an uncommon sight: far too many people still buy dogs on impulse, from pet shops or online – not only unaware that they’re feeding the cruel trade of puppy farming, but also unprepared to take on the responsibilities dog ownership entails.
However, six-week-old Jack Russell puppy Buddy may very well have established a record: not only was he separated from his mother earlier than he should have been, but he was discarded within hours of being bought on Gumtree. Yes, hours.
Buddy was collected by police after they stopped a car in the early hours of a Tuesday morning in July. After telling the officer at the scene that they had just purchased the puppy that afternoon, the owners handed him over; they simply didn’t want him anymore.
Buddy was taken to Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, where he’s being looked after – and he already has a forever home ready for him. Not all dogs in rescues are so lucky: some have to wait a long time for their forever home, and often one of the reasons is that they’re overlooked… in favour of puppies being sold online.
Sean Welland, Rehoming and Welfare Manager at Battersea Old Windsor, said, “While it’s shocking that Buddy had been sold on so young, it’s sadly not uncommon for dogs to be bought online and then swiftly discarded by their owners when they change their mind.
“Buying animals online is just as easy as ordering a new pair of shoes or jeans from an internet store. All too many people get a puppy and then decide that it’s just too much work. It’s then animal rescues, such as Battersea, that are left to pick up the pieces.”
Battersea has seen an increase in the number of dogs crossing their gates after being bought online. In 2015, 14.7 per cent of dogs coming into its care had originally been sold online; this rose to 16.6 percent in 2017.
A Gumtree spokesperson said, “We’re glad to hear Buddy was eventually able to find a forever home but it’s disheartening nevertheless to hear of these sorts of cases. At Gumtree, we take the welfare of animals seriously and work hard to ensure our site is a safe place to rehome pets.
“Measures we take include educating users on how to buy pets safely and responsibly with plenty of advice on our Pets Advice Hub. As well as the RSPCA and DEFRA, we work with Pets Advertising Advisory Group (PAAG) and comply with – and in some cases exceed – all of their 18 standards. These industry-endorsed standards improve animal welfare in an e-commerce environment.
“We also do not allow ‘wanted’ ads in our Pets category, as there are plenty of pets to choose from on the site and in sanctuaries across the country, and we delete any ads we believe are encouraging or indicate signs of animal cruelty. Users with any concerns about an ad on our site can use the ‘Report’ button that appears next to every ad. Our dedicated safety team will then investigate and, if necessary, work with the police to secure convictions.”
Images by Battersea Dogs and Cats Home.