Gumtree in Ireland has banned advertising of dogs after concerns the site was being used in the illegal trade in puppies.
It follows a change of ownership of the popular listings site.
Dogs are not allowed to be listed for sale, or to be advertised as free or swapped.
Gumtree’s updated policy reads: “We do not allow the advertisement of dogs on Gumtree. With this [ownership]change, we have made the decision to suspend dog advertisements.
“Having worked with animal welfare organisations, and in light of unprecedented demand, we believe this is the best decision for our platform and our users.
“We will continue to work hard with animal welfare bodies to find the best possible solutions to maximise transparency and protect animal welfare when it comes to the advertisement of dogs online.
“Gumtree is committed to the highest standards of transparency and animal welfare.”
The news has been welcomed by animal welfare groups and professionals.
Vet Tim Kirby said: “The cogs are turning and more people are recognising the issues of animal welfare and due diligence are vital.
“This is massive news from Gumtree and I welcome it wholeheartedly. The fact that they have announced this decision will be enough for many people to understand that there is an issue that is being addressed by a huge company, and individuals can address it too. It’s great news – but there’s more to be done.”
A puppy farm investigator added: “It’s a fantastic to hear this today, it’s a massive blow for illegal breeders and smugglers.
“They have relied on Gumtree for a long time, it gave them an easy route to endless cash deals but that has been closed down and they’ll be furious.
“But these people will not be easily put off. They will undoubtedly try to find another way to get easy sales. They are brutal operators who don’t care about puppies or humans – they only care about money and beating the system.
“Even if the public is not fully aware of why Gumtree in Ireland has done this, it’s simply to see Gumtree has done their research in a bid to act responsibly and that’s a good starting point for the message that welfare of adult dogs and litters of puppies should be paramount and just cannot be guaranteed in an anonymous or untraceable ad.”
The good news follows a more heart-breaking trend that emerged when restrictions brought into during the covid pandemic started to be lifted.
Many people who had bought dogs during the lockdown decided that they didn’t have time to look after their new pet when the restrictions were lifted.
Sadly, this often resulted in the dogs being abandoned in an unfamiliar area rather than being taken to a shelter.
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Written by Michael Kehoe @michaelcalling