New campaign highlights shadowy world of puppy factory trading

It’s been revealed that more than 100 people have been tempted into buying fake puppies on popular trade website Gumtree highlighting concerns that thousands of abused dogs could be listed for sale online and through social media each year in NSW alone.

To combat the growing problem, the RSPCA NSW and Animal Welfare League NSW (AWL NSW) have launched a campaign to help identify puppy factories across the state. It aims to demonstrate the ease in which puppies are sold through multiple channels – sometimes to escape scrutiny about the tragic conditions they were born in.

The fake Gumtree ad – offering brand new, healthy Cavoodles – reveals the dark side of today’s online pet selling. RSPCA NSW and AWL NSW said they wanted to gauge how many people would be interested in buying puppies from an unregistered, anonymous seller who offered no evidence of ethical breeding practices. Within just four days, 111 keen puppy-seekers expressed their interest in the ad, demonstrating how unethical breeders can operate in the online world and the challenges facing well-meaning buyers.

“This result is very concerning and reinforces our fears of how easy it is for unethical breeders to sell puppies online and transport through third parties to unknowing buyers,” RSPCA NSW Chief Inspector David OShannessy said.

“These breeders are often based in remote areas, don’t keep accurate records and operate in a cash economy making it difficult to track them down.

“There could be thousands of dogs in hidden puppy factories across the state in horrific conditions being forced to do little more than breed.”

The campaign calls on potential buyers to ask the right questions before purchasing a new pup to help weed out any puppy factories. This includes asking to visit the breeding facilities to check puppies and their parents are being well looked after, and asking for a copy of the puppy’s veterinary history. Pet- seekers can report suspected puppy factories to the RSPCA NSW or AWL NSW.

“This year, RSPCA NSW inspectors have so far rescued 420 dogs from large-scale puppy factories, where hundreds of breeding females were kept in cages, at times in appalling conditions,” Mr OShannessy said.

“In some cases, these animals may never be allowed out of their cage to exercise, play, or even to go to the toilet. They receive inadequate veterinary care and live in unhygienic, overcrowded environments. As a result, puppies and their mothers suffer from long-term health and behaviour problems.

“Buyers and the general public are our frontline in trying to bring an end to this horrific practice.”

To take a stand against puppy factories and to find out what questions you should ask when buying a puppy, go to www.closepuppyfactoriesnsw.org. Report suspected puppy factories to RSPCA NSW 1300 CRUELTY or AWL NSW (02) 8899 3333. Take to social media and join the fight by using #ClosePuppyFactories

WHAT IS A PUPPY FACTORY?

A puppy factory is an intensive dog breeding facility that’s conditions fail to meet the dogs’ health and behavioural needs. This may include extreme confinement, inadequate veterinary care, unhygienic living conditions and overcrowded housing. All across Australia, dogs are being held in these cruel puppy factories, treated as nothing more than breeding machines, used to produce puppies for profit.

WHERE ARE THE PUPPY FACTORIES IN AUSTRALIA?

Many of these puppy factories operate in remote areas and are not known to authorities, making it difficult to know as well as find and prosecute unethical breeders. However, it is estimated that there may be thousands of dogs held in inhumane puppy factories.

WHAT’S BEING DONE TO END PUPPY FACTORIES?

RSPCA NSW and the Animal Welfare League NSW (AWL NSW) are working with the NSW Government to try to bring an end to puppy factories by encouraging potential owners to ‘ask all the right questions’ before purchasing a new dog, as well as reporting any suspected puppy factory operators to that they can be investigated. In NSW under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979, a Breeding Code applies to anyone that is breeding dogs for sale with mandated standards.

WHY SHOULD I HELP?

If you care about animal welfare and protecting vulnerable creatures from inhumane treatment, then please help our campaign by taking the pledge to #ClosePuppyFactories.

HOW CAN I HELP END PUPPY FACTORIES?

Don’t buy a puppy or dog from an unknown source. Please check with your local RSPCA NSW, AWL NSW or other reputable animal rescue organisation first. There are many wonderful dogs and puppies looking for good homes. But if you can’t find the right dog for you, you should do your research to find a responsible dog breeder. Be a proactive pet-seeker by asking all the right questions before purchasing a new dog. Take the pledge at www.closepuppyfactoriesnsw.org

WHAT QUESTIONS SHOULD I ASK BEFORE BUYING A PUPPY FROM A BREEDER?

If you’re buying a puppy, please use the questions below to ensure you are not unwittingly supporting a puppy factory.

  • Can you meet the puppy’s mum and dad in person?
  • Can you see for yourself the conditions in which the puppy was raised? Can you get a complete history of the puppy and its lineage?
  • What support does the breeder offer after a purchase?
  • Can you have a copy of the puppy’s veterinary care and can you talk to its vet?
  • How many litters has the puppy’s mum had in her lifetime?
  • Can the breeder provide references from other families who’ve purchased pups?
  • Will the breeder provide a guarantee for the puppy after purchase?

WHAT SHOULD I DO IF SUSPECT A PUPPY IS FROM A PUPPY FACTORY?

If something doesn’t feel right, or you suspect someone you're dealing with is running a puppy factory, please report them to the RSPCA NSW by calling 1300 CRUELTY or the Animal Welfare League on (02) 8899 3333.

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