Buying via Social Media – Illegal puppy trade boomed during pandemic


More people than usual have received a puppy in the Corona pandemic. However, the path many chose when buying a companion animal was often extremely questionable. “Unfortunately, people are far too influenced by the cute pictures in online advertisements. They then make a spontaneous purchase decision and fall into the trap of illegal puppy dealers,” says Veronika Weissenböck, campaign manager of Four Paws. Often such animals are sick, many would even die.

About 30 percent of the approximately 250 participants from Austria in a study in several countries bought a puppy that was less than six weeks old. 37 percent of dogs that were under the legal minimum age of eight weeks at the time of purchase had health problems. About a quarter of those who found their animal sick bought it via Instagram.

The study was conducted in Austria, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Belgium and Bulgaria among a total of 2284 people who bought a puppy during the relevant period.

Most requested golden retrievers
For 72 percent of all respondents, the motivation for having a dog as a pet had increased during the corona lockdown, reports de Vierlegs. The most popular breed of dog in this country at the time was the Golden Retriever. According to the research, a good quarter of retriever puppies bought at the time soon showed health problems. In the participating countries, a total of 55 percent of sick puppies were acquired through social media. Instagram was the most frequent source with 23 percent.

38 percent had health problems
In Austria, 38 percent of all people who bought their puppy through social media reported health problems. “Here we see the clear discrepancy between reputable breeders and illegal puppy dealers who are free to sell on social media platforms due to a lack of controls. 24 percent of Austrian dog owners alone whose puppies became ill reported Instagram as the supplier,” said Weissenböck.

In Austria, only officially registered breeders are allowed to sell animals online. According to an amendment to the internal market regulation, dogs from abroad can only be legally imported with a valid rabies vaccination and thus only from the 16th week of life.

Source: Krone


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