Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Australian puppy buyers: Four Paws says Aussies are falling for a worrying trend

Australian pet owners and buyers have fared poorly in a global survey which revealed we do the least research into breeders, spend the most on new dogs and often buy young puppies illegally.

Australia is the lowest of all nine countries surveyed for researching breeders or sellers before buying, with 27 per cent not researching a puppy’s supplier. Apparently, the ACCC reported that in 2021, Australians are set to lose $4.2 million dollars due to pet scams, a 1000 percent increase in two years.

Forty-two per cent of Australians will spend between $1500 and $4399 on a puppy in 2022, while 13 per cent will pay between $4400 and $8800.

Only 18 per cent of survey respondents in the UK paid more than $A3083 for their new dog.

Perhaps, of most concern about the results was the fact that more than a quarter of Australians who bought puppies were under eight weeks old, with 13 per cent saying their puppy was six weeks old or younger.

In most Australian states, it is illegal to sell or buy dogs under the age of eight weeks.

The Savanta research agency, which worked with Four Paws on the survey during 2022, received responses from 3,037 people in Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Belgium to compile the results.

In October, news.com.au was made aware of puppy and kitten adverts on Gumtree offering them to buyers under the age of eight weeks.

Gumtree removed a list of several adverts sent to them by news.com.au, which turned up after only a brief search.

In response, a spokesperson for Gumtree said that the site employs filters and safeguards to remove non-compliant ads, but encourages users to flag any concerning ads with a “report and tech- Also uses “down process”.

Animal welfare advocacy group Four Paws is urging Australians to research “puppy farms” and spay puppies too young.

The group claims there has been an increase in demand for puppies over the Christmas period as well as through Covid, leading to an increase in puppy farm practices, underage puppy sales and online scams.

Four Paws Australia’s national director, Rebecca Linijn, said puppies advertised online were more than likely from puppy farms – urging buyers to do their research.

“They are raised in poor conditions in puppy farms, mothers are forced to produce litter after litter, and puppies are taken from their mothers too young,” she said.

“As long as they are in your arms, they may become ill or have behavioral problems due to lack of socialization.”

The survey also found that as a result of such purchases, 21 percent reported that the puppies had health problems, including allergies, behavioral problems and diarrhea — possibly linked to mother-pup separation.

“Doing the right research and asking the right questions can help Australians avoid falling prey to the cruel puppy trade,” Ms Linijen said.

Animal Justice Party member of the NSW Upper House, Emma Hurst, said puppy farming was legal in most states and territories, but branded it a “cruel industry” that has been allowed to run rampant because of government inaction.

“No one wants to buy a dog from a puppy farm – but right now, members of the public are being duped by dodgy operators,” she said.

“This was recently exposed in the NSW parliamentary inquiry where it was revealed that even individuals who tried to research breeders were still mistakenly buying from puppy farms and were spending thousands on veterinary treatment for their sick new family member that probably came from dirt.

According to Four Paws, red flags for buyers include sellers having multiple accounts on the same classifieds site, the same seller advertising multiple litters of puppies of different breeds, making no mention of the mother, or giving the buyer the name of the mother. Does not allow the dog to see and where she lives for herself.

The organization says that a responsible breeder will likely quiz the buyer on their lifestyle and living space to make sure their home is right for the puppy.

Four Paws Australia recently launched its new campaign ‘Cute’. Soon. Ill’, which highlights the dangers of buying animals online and how operators sometimes dupe people wanting to buy a puppy.

The animal welfare organization encourages those who are looking to add a furry friend to their families this festive season, but they should always remember – a pet is for life, not just for Christmas.

Times of National
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