BUYING A PET ONLINE – STYLETAILS FEATURE
Wednesday, 24 April 2013
Check out this checklist for buying a puppy online, published on StyleTails this week!
PAAG ON ITV’S DAYBREAK
Thursday, 21 March 2013
On Wednesday 20th March ITV’s Daybreak aired a feature on the issues of buying a dog online which included advice and information from PAAG members and vet Marc Abraham. The programme includes the story of a dog owner who bought a puppy online then found it was suffering from a range of serious illnesses which required costly veterinary treatment. The feature explained that many of the dogs that are advertised online are bred in puppy farms with no thought to their health and welfare. Marc Abraham provides advice about how people wanting a dog should get one safely.
Watch Daybreak’s piece on the online sale of pets and animals here.
DISPATCHES: UNDERCOVER DESIGNER DOGS
Friday, 15 March 2013
This week’s episode of Channel 4’s Dispatches investigated the worrying practice of illegally importing puppies into the UK from Eastern Europe. The programme claims that thousands of puppies enter British ports each year without the necessary paperwork or vaccinations required under the EU Pet Travel Scheme.
The relaxation of quarantine rules under the Pet Travel Scheme has fuelled a significant increase in the number of dogs brought into the country on pet passports. Our concern is that many of these puppies – entering legally or otherwise – are transported for days across Europe, without their mothers and with little regard for their welfare, and then sold to unsuspecting UK buyers. We also fear the increased health risks to both dogs and humans as a result of more dogs entering the country.
Many of these puppies end up, as Dispatches showed, being sold online. PAAG therefore urges people to think twice before buying a pet on the internet, particularly one advertised as an import from Eastern Europe or sold with a passport. They risk purchasing an unhealthy and poorly socialised pet with falsified paperwork and without the necessary vaccinations. If a puppy is found to have entered the country illegally, they will have to be removed from the family home and quarantined which is a costly and upsetting experience for both the puppy and their new family.
Watch Dispatches: Undercover Designer Dogs, with input from Dogs Trust Veterinary Director Paula Boyden, here.
“HOW MUCH IS THAT ILLEGAL DOGGY ON THE WEBSITE…”
PET BUYERS WARNED OF DANGERS OF CLASSIFED ADS
The UK’s leading animal welfare charities have united to clamp down on illegal pet classified adverts following a record number of complaints from people buying poorly pets.
Members of the Pet Advertising Advisory Group [PAAG] have launched a new website aimed at both consumers and publishers. The site www.paag.org.uk will also encourage recession-hit members of the public to think carefully before buying a new family pet through classified advertisements.
With the alarming rise in status dogs and underground dog fighting rings, the site also provides valuable help to publishers to ensure they don’t inadvertently publish illegal or inappropriate ads.
PAAG is made up of 12 animal welfare organisations, the Metropolitan Police, DEFRA and free-ads publisher Loot who have all noticed a worrying increase in the number of unsuitable pet related classified adverts appearing both online and in newspapers. In particular ads for banned breeds of dogs such as Pit Bull Terriers have become more common. These advertisements are illegal under animal welfare legislation.
PAAG members are also concerned that consumers looking for a bargain family pet are falling foul of unscrupulous pet traffickers.
Chairman of the Pet Advertising Advisory Group, Clarissa Baldwin OBE, explains:
“We’re urging people not to act on impulse and buy from a classified ad but to think carefully before taking on a family pet. Without the proper research you could unwittingly end up supporting a puppy farmer or an illegal animal breeder.
Sadly the recession has meant some people are now looking to make a quick buck by breeding animals – the end result is an influx of pets being sold online with no consideration given to their health or welfare.”
PAAG members were particularly concerned when a member of the public recently posted an online ad offering a German Shepherd dog in exchange for an iphone or wireless laptop. This highlights a worrying trend that some people regard pets as disposable commodities.
Consumer Direct reported a concerning 40% increase in the number of complaints related to animal and pet purchases from 2006 to 2008.
In 2008 alone the helpline received 4,953 complaints about pet purchases compared to 3,787 calls in 2007 and 2,843 calls in 2006.
The user-friendly PAAG website offers consumers advice on a wide range of topics and now also boasts a new ‘click through’ button designed for pet owners to report any problems with animals bought online or through classifieds.
The site also aims to encourage publishers to be as uniform and transparent as possible when it comes to pet advertisements.
The Animal Welfare Act now places a responsibility on the seller and buyer for the care of companion animals sold through classified advertisements. The advertiser’s responsibility however is purely ethical.
With this in mind, PAAG has launched an appeal to the Committee for Advertising Practice for the introduction of a formal Code for the advertising of ‘Companion Animals’. Publishers are being asked to run a short paragraph alongside any advertisements for sales of animals, birds, fish or exotic species, encouraging prospective buyers to ensure their choice and the place they buy it from is the right one for them.
Georgina Sutton from Holme Pierrepont in Nottinghamshire supports PAAG’s findings and has had first-hand experience of illegal and inappropriate pet adverts. She explains:
“I knew things weren’t right the minute I saw Molly in the back of a battered car. I had agreed to meet a man at a petrol station after he convinced me it was the most convenient place to deliver a new puppy.
The puppies were crammed into small cages in the back of this old beaten-up car. Despite realising Molly was in a bad way I instantly paid £280 to take her home with me – I just couldn’t let my little Molly go back with him!
I had looked around for breeders but there weren’t any locally so I found a website featuring Lab puppies for sale.
Molly was half-dead when I eventually got her home and so I took her straight to the vet. I also rang the breeder and told him exactly what had happened but all he could do was blame me instead!
I’ve spent thousands of pounds on veterinary treatment including x-rays and heart/lung scans. I know I shouldn’t have bought her and I committed the ultimate sin, but I just wanted to help in my own way.
Molly’s case is not as bad as some, but it’s still bad enough. At least now she’s got the life she deserves.”
To avoid getting stung by unscrupulous pet traffickers, PAAG has compiled top tips for consumers looking for a new family pet:
1. Be prepared to wait, the right pet is worth waiting for.
2. In the case of puppies and kittens, insist on seeing the mother with the litter and judge the parents’ health and temperament. Check that the animal you are interested in is interacting with the mother. You should have easy access to the litter and be able to play with them and handle them freely.
3. Where appropriate make sure your chosen pet is old enough to leave its mother.
4. Check that the facilities are clean, have adequate and appropriate bedding, toys and stimulation and that the animals appear alert and healthy.
5. Visit your chosen pet regularly between the time of choosing and collection.
6. Try to ensure that all relevant paperwork is available for inspection when you visit. This could include the pedigree and registration papers and the parents’ hereditary disease screening certificates. If it is unavailable and the paperwork has to be sent on later, get a written commitment to when it will be delivered.
7. Ask the advertiser for a written medical history of the animal which might include vaccination and worming.
8. Request a written agreement that purchase is subject to a satisfactory examination by your veterinary surgeon within 72 hours of purchase. Alternatively make enquiries with your local vet to see if he would be willing to attend a viewing to check the pet for any visible health problems before you purchase it.
9. If your chosen pet was not born at the place of purchase ask where it came from. If you encounter any problems please contact the publisher.
For further press information, photos, research results and case studies please contact:
Charlotte Speedy Head of Communications Dogs Trust
Tel 0207 833 7705 Email email@example.com
Krystyna McGrath Press Officer Dogs Trust
Tel 020 7833 7616 Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Or visit www.paag.org.uk
Notes to Editor
- The Pet Advertising Advisory Group (PAAG) was created in 2001 to combat the growing concern amongst animal welfare organisations regarding unethical classified advertising of pets. In certain cases, such ads were illegally offering dogs banned under the Dangerous Dog Act, endangered animals or advertising establishments which were not fit for the breeding or boarding of animals.
- Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 a pet owner has a legal duty to ensure the welfare of his animal[s]. A pet’s welfare needs include a proper diet, somewhere suitable to live, any need to be housed with, or apart from, other animals, allowing animals to express normal behaviour, free from pain, suffering, injury and disease.
- PAAG is comprised of the following organisations: Dogs Trust, Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, The Blue Cross, Cats Protection, The Kennel Club, The Mayhew Animal Home, Wood Green Animal Shelters, DEFRA, Metropolitan Police, Rabbit Welfare Association & Fund, RSPCA.
- PAAG also works closely with: Loot, Auto Exchange & Mart and the Pet Care Trust.
- The PAAG website offers downloadable advice booklets, practical tips and fillers for consumers and publishers alike and aims to promote best practice, provide uniformity, transparency and ultimately improve the welfare of the animals being bred, bought and sold via newspapers and online. It also offers a growing library of resources to help answer questions, download fillers and links for publications and websites.
WALES IS FIRST IN UK TO PUBLISH ANIMAL WELFARE CODES
Wales is the first country in the UK to publish guidance on the welfare of dogs, cats and horses. Codes from England and Scotland are expected to be published shortly.
The Welsh Assembly Government has worked in conjunction with animal welfare specialists across Great Britain to create Codes of Practice that give practical advice to help owners and keepers to understand the welfare needs of their animals. These codes will help pet owners recognise their legal responsibility and commitment in looking after their animals.
The codes of conduct can be viewed online.
ENDS/ March 2009
PET ADVISORY GROUP SEEKS RECOGNITION FOR COMPANION ANIMAL ADVERTISING
‘Call to Newspapers to Assist with Improving Animal Welfare’
The Pet Advertising Advisory Group (PAAG) have spent some time trying to convince the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) and the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) that their remit should extend to private advertisers and that they should develop a formal Code for the advertising of ‘Companion Animals’.
PAAG representatives have met with the CAP and sought meetings with the ASA, but remain frustrated that neither organisation will recognise the issue of companion animals within their remit.
The PAAG has urged for the introduction of a Code, as the Animal Welfare Act now places a responsibility for companion animals on the owner, seller and the buyer for the care of that animal and this extends to the advertiser too, under the duty of care. Further, the Group is well aware of the problems publishers face with recognising a banned breed under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 prior to placing an advertisement and, has already implemented a great deal of work with regard to this issue.
Said Clarissa Baldwin, Chair of the PAAG, “In a recent survey carried out by the Blue Cross it is suggested that 40% of companion animals are purchased through commercial sources, which is a vast amount. We have been working on various pet advertising issues, but unfortunately the CAP and the ASA are failing to engage with us, citing time and again that the CAP Code does not extend to “classified private ads, including those appearing on-line”. We are immensely disappointed and somewhat bemused by this response as the majority of ‘products’ are covered by legislation and have their own advertising Codes, so why not companion animals, who surely should carry with them a great deal of responsibility and care?”
Due to the CAP’s inactivity, it is now the PAAG’s intention to build on the relationships that it already has with LOOT and Exchange & Mart and would like to also start engaging with other media newsgroups, with a view to increasing the PAAG membership and in turn, its reach and influence.
Clarissa concluded, “We are aware that pet advertising is a major issue for many publications and we would therefore like to assist them in their endeavours to promote best practice, provide uniformity and transparency and ultimately, improve the welfare of the animals being bred, bought and sold via newspapers and online. We would therefore urge interested advertisers to contact us directly for further information and advice and possible participation at future meetings. “
ENDS/ 26 April 2007
Notes To Editors:
PAAG consists of the following Members: The Kennel Club, Battersea Dogs & Cats Homes, Dogs Trust, The Blue Cross, Wood Green Animal Shelters, the Pet Care Trust, Rabbit Welfare Association and Cats Protection and enjoys an association with the RSPCA and the publishers of Exchange & Mart, Loot, Ad Trader, the Metropolitan Police and DEFRA.
The self regulating advertising industry is governed by codes of practice that are designed to protect consumers and create a level playing field for advertisers. The Codes are the responsibility of two industry Committees of Advertising Practice – CAP (Broadcast) and CAP (Non-broadcast) and are independently administered by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).