What you need to know before buying puppies and dogs online
European puppy farm capitals
Europe has been developing a big problem in the recent years with the increased selling of puppies that have been bred in puppy farms and puppy mills, all of which are being raised and kept in inhumane and very brutal conditions. The general opinion is that by not making sure where your puppy comes from before you buy it, you are actively assisting these people to continue their bad and cruel practices and making it very profitable for them to do so. Whether you’re looking for a small dog or a big dog, a Bulldog puppy or a Yorkshire terrier puppy, you should never buy from an online puppy selling website or from a pet shop that keeps puppies in the store.
Where are these puppy farms allegedly located?
Ireland has been dubbed the puppy farm capital of Europe with nearly 100,000 puppies bred every year. As a nation of dog lovers, the Irish buys 50,000 dogs every year with another 52 000 approximately going across to the UK and the rest of Europe. Kathrina Bentley from Dog’s Trust Ireland said buyers need to look beyond endearing pictures and investigate where the dogs were born instead of just going awww, hitting the click and buy button and collecting the following day. There are just too many puppies and it is not known to customers where they come from.
Lithuania, Hungary and Romania
Lithuania and Hungary are also big culprits for selling puppies in Europe. The number of declared puppies entering Great Britain between 2011 and 2013 from Lithuania has increased by 780 per cent, 1,150 per cent increase from Romania and risen 663 per cent from Hungary – this rise does not scratch the surface if you consider the number of puppies that are illegally smuggled and not accounted for in these figures.
Why should you not buy from an online puppy selling website?
To buy puppies online is just as bad as buying them in a pet shop. Websites that let you buy a puppy online often claim to be good agents or dog breeders themselves and to help families find their dream puppy. They claim to check each pup’s health and that they only recommend the best ones. They will also usually ship puppies right to you, promising to take care of everything. They will even us fancy terms like certified kennel, AKC registered, pure-bred and health checked by a veterinarian. These online dog buying sites boasts with having sold to over 100 countries in the past. These sites in fact, are just a social platform where puppy farmers get together to advertise their pups. Don’t be fooled by cute photos, anyone can use a stock photo. Dogs Trust is urging anyone considering a puppy to stop and think, ‘Where is my dog actually coming from?’
Health risks posed by buying dogs online
Unsuspecting shoppers will continue to buy puppies online which may have been brought into the country illegally; meaning the risk of unknowingly bringing a puppy with diseases and behavioural problems into the home is very real. In fact, the fear of rabies is a real concern again. According to the Internet Crime Complaint Center, hundreds and hundreds of complaints are being filed every year from victims who were scammed when buying a dog online. An informal online survey conducted by the ASPCA reveals that just as many Americans are now buying puppies online as buying from pet stores. You should be vigilant, as a puppy brought into your home without making sure where it comes from, could cost far more than expected. Some puppy farmers are trying to cut out the middleman which would traditionally be the pet shop, by using online websites to sell their dogs.
What is wrong with a puppy farm?
People operating puppy farms do not care about the wellbeing and happiness of the dogs that are being bred. The dogs are housed in overcrowded, filthy conditions without adequate veterinary care, food, water, shelter and socialization. Another concern is the breeding dogs themselves at puppy mills and farms—the moms and dads—are bred as often as they come in heat without rest before having another litter, in order to increase the maximum possible profits. Puppy mill operators keep breeding dogs in crowded cages stacked on top of each other, forcing them to give birth to litter after litter until they can no longer produce puppies. Breeding moms and dads often live their whole lives in these cages, never getting to experience the warmth of sunlight on their bodies or feel the grass under their paws or have anyone to play ball with them or cuddle or take them for walks. Puppies are taken away from their mothers often as young as 6 weeks old and then sold off as miniatures.
How can you make sure you are not buying a dog online from a puppy farm?
You can help make sure your puppy was bred and raised in humane conditions by insisting to see a puppy with its mum, this is the very best way to ensure the dog’s welfare. A responsible breeder will be more than happy and very proud to show you around. Try to deal directly with a breeder and not a broker. When you purchase, always ask for references and check them with others who have purchased pets from this breeder. Always pick your puppy up from the breeder. Do not have the puppy shipped or meet at a random location. If you are being told that there will be no refunds for a sick puppy, you can be sure it is a puppy farmer as a reputable breeder will always take the puppy back.
Are there other options besides buying a puppy online?
Yes! Adoption is still the best option, even if you have your mind set on a purebred dog. Just in Ireland alone, over 15,000 dogs are going into pounds annually so people should actually consider their local pound or rescue centres. There are thousands of dogs waiting for good homes at local animal shelters, including purebreds! There are also a number of reputable breed rescue groups passionate about finding great homes for pure bred dogs that have been deserted, ill-treated or surrendered to shelters.