A 10-week-old puppy, Buddy, was found on Gumtree by a young couple excited at the prospect of becoming new owners. The adorable Labrador was advertised for £400, listed as vaccinated, microchipped and in good health. Everything seemed genuine, so the couple travelled to the address given by the seller to meet their new addition to the family.

Bringing a pup or kitten into a family home should never be a purely commercial transaction, where profit is the primary purpose…

Upon arrival, the couple were shocked to discover that little Buddy was being kept in a tiny rabbit hutch with one other puppy. He was quiet and lethargic, and it became clear that he was not being properly cared for. On his first night in his new home, Buddy passed large amounts of watery, milky-coloured diarrhoea, and was in considerable distress.

Realising there was something very wrong , the new owners took Buddy to Mayhew the following day. They agreed to sign him over, and Buddy was put into medical isolation so vets could investigate further.

Test results indicated that Buddy was suffering from a gastrointestinal infection or parasite. He was prescribed a full course of antibiotics and worming treatment, along with cage rest. It was also discovered that the poor pup had previously been given out-of-date vaccinations, and that while he was indeed microchipped, he had not been registered.

After a few weeks in Mayhew’s care, little Buddy seemed a completely different dog. He quickly showed himself to be a friendly, inquisitive and energetic little pup; after being neutered and receiving a second round of vaccinations, Buddy was finally ready to go home for good. He now brightens the lives of his new owners every day.

Deceptive breeders and sellers advertise dogs like Buddy on sites such as Gumtree every single day, to the point the website had to introduce a paywall in its Pets category in a bid to deter unscrupulous operators from misusing the platform and discourage the ‘casual’ trading of animals online. Despite this, many are still duped into spending hundreds or thousands of pounds on abused, unwell or unsuitable animals.

Supporting all animals who find themselves a victim of puppy farming or unethical third party trading, Mayhew is urging people to report any suspicious animal advertisements to their local authorities. They also ask for prospective pet owners to visit a registered rehoming shelter to find a fur-ever friend.

Mayhew CEO, Caroline Yates, said, “Bringing a pup or kitten into a family home should never be a purely commercial transaction, where profit is the primary purpose, and where no thought is given for the welfare of defenceless animals that feel pain and distress as we do.

“Mayhew is a member of The Association of Dogs and Cats Homes which has developed minimum standards that rehoming centres should be held to, and there are ongoing efforts to clamp down on unscrupulous online sellers with a cross-charity forum. These initiatives, together with tighter licensing of people breeding and selling dogs, must continue to have government support, be effectively regulated and enforced if we are to truly end harmful puppy and kitten breeding practices.”

Lucy’s Law, which aims to ban third party puppy sales, is set to come into effect later this year.

Images by Mayhew

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