Let us finally say goodbye to Free to Good Home adverts and why?
Updated: Jan 20, 2019
Re-homing a pet is a big decision to take, and people make this decision for different reasons, whatever the reason you will want your pet to go to the best home available to ensure he/she gets the very best care possible. Although now you have made that decision you want the quickest transfer possible, that is understandable but unrealistic and remember it is not the pets fault, and to find the best place is going to take some time and effort on your part.
There are various options available to you( Help with rehoming a pet safely) even the free to good home option, this option is taken usually for differing reasons: Ease of passing the pet on, but no thought for what the future holds for that pet. The pet has health or behavioural reasons, and the owner is struggling to rehome.
Whatever the reason free to good home may be an easy option, But are magnets to people you wouldn't want to rehome a pet to and who is likely to see your advert?
Free to good home adverts are open to severe abuse from individuals like the spontaneous buyer who most likely wouldn't be suitable to adopt from a rescue centre and who are also more likely to pass the pet on to anybody when they are bored of it.
Criminals and criminal gangs are also scouring free to good home ads for individuals they can profit on and offer a very bleak future for the animals caught up in their criminality.
"There have been numerous cases in which cruel people have trolled such ads for the sole purpose of obtaining animals they planned to torture and kill. For instance, a man was charged with multiple felony counts of torturing an animal after he dismembered five dogs at a Reno, Nevada, hotel. At least two of these dogs were acquired via Craigslist.
Jeffrey Nally, a West Virginia man who was sentenced to 10 to 45 years behind bars for mutilating and killing more than two dozen puppies, also sought out his victims from “free to a good home” ads. And an Alabama man who claimed to be “mad at the world” obtained several kittens via Craigslist ads. He abused them in a “cat room” in his house for months and then killed them before he was finally arrested on 22 counts of cruelty to animals."
Criminal animal abusers connected to the dog fighting scene also search such advert platforms for animals like cats and dogs with little or no worth and are destined to be sold for gangs to throw to their fighting dogs as part of the training of this evil practice.
The blue cross for pets is asking individuals to report suspicious adverts that need reporting according to the Blue Cross,
"What’s the problem?
More and more people are choosing to look for a new pet on the internet. Social media is also used to sell pets, and there are no specific laws to regulate the standard of online pet advertising. These include the sale of very young puppies and kittens, puppy farmers and dealers pretending to be private sellers.
Pregnant animals and illegal status dogs are also being traded, and animals are being swapped for objects such as mobile phones.
If the ads that people see for pets are of a poor standard, where animals are treated as commodities, and their welfare is ignored, then it is likely that consumers will begin to see this as normal. As a result, the welfare of animals being bought and sold in this way will suffer. "
When you find an advert that needs reporting, take a screenshot and email it to: NCS@bluecross.org.uk with ‘social media pet sales report’ in the subject line.
If you have more than one advert, please combine them together and send them as one email.
What we want you to do?
It is important that we try to build up a picture and gather evidence of what is going on. Through your help we can identify trends and provide research which can be used to make changes to the sale of pets online.
We would like you to search Shpock, Facebook and Instagram and any other social media sites for bad adverts selling pets.
Use the search function to look for adverts - these are some example key word searches: free to a good home, specific breed names like Staffie, Rottweiler, French bulldog and many others, dogs/puppies, cats/kittens, pets, exotic pets, primates, birds, pets for sale.
When looking through adverts, keep an eye out for poor quality, or adverts that you think are suspicious. The below points will give you some idea of things to look out for.
Adverts for puppies or kittens under eight weeks old - they can’t be away from their mothers before this age.
Dogs being sold as guard dogs, or advertised as suitable for hunting
Pregnant animals for sale.
Adverts asking to swap pets, services or goods.
Exotic pets - many of these species aren’t suitable to be kept in homes. You can find out more by reading our One Click Away report.
Adverts where the photo or text seems to suggest the welfare of the animal is suffering. For example, dirty and overcrowded cages, very underweight animals etc.
Pets advertised as being delivered by post, either in the UK or internationally.
Adverts for illegal breeds of dog, the four banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act are: the pit bull terrier, the Japanese tosa, the dogo Argentino, fila Brasileiro .
Adverts which suggest an animal may be a danger to a member of the public.
Closed groups on Facebook offering pets for sale.
The kennel club has teamed up with other leading organisations to tackle the online sales of pets
For many years, the Kennel Club has been greatly concerned about the varying standards of websites which allow dogs to be advertised on their sites as this causes confusion for potential new owners.
Unfortunately, the scant information provided in classified adverts makes it very easy for unscrupulous breeders and even puppy farms to sell their puppies to unknowing members of the public.
Often these puppies will have serious medical or behavioural problems, which could lead to them being abandoned or even euthanised later.
In 2001, the UK's leading animal welfare charities united to from the Pet Advertising Advisory Group (PAAG) in an effort to clamp down on illegal pet classified adverts, following a record number of complaints from people buying sick pets. PAAG is made up of organisations including Dogs Trust, the Kennel Club, Cats Protection and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), all concerned that consumers looking for a bargain family pet are falling foul of unscrupulous pet traffickers.
The group provides information and advice to those buying and selling pets, detailing information on the law and encouraging best practice to promote responsible pet buying.
This includes the advertising of illegal activity, such as the sale of banned breeds of dog; dogs sold for fighting or baiting; illegally docked dogs; and the advertisement of animals classified under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act.The website www.paag.org.uk offers free downloadable links and fillers for classified pages, aimed at encouraging potential puppy buyers to think carefully before buying a new family pet through classified advertisements.
There is also a facility to report the purchase of an animal from a classified advert or website that has turned out to be a sick or problem pet, with information on how to contact Consumer Direct.
PAAG has engaged with some of the main online sites, including Gumtree, Epupz, Preloved, Loot and Pets4Homes, to improve their standards of advertisement monitoring and filtering. Many other websites exist that are unwilling to implement any measures to ensure that irresponsible and illegal advertising does not appear on their websites.
PAAG is working with advertisers towards a voluntary code of practice that, if upheld, would result in a reduction in the number of inappropriate, misleading and illegal adverts that are currently being placed online. Amongst other things the standards are calling for improvements to be made to website advert filtering systems, offering animal specific training to website moderators and providing ongoing advice and support.
PAAG hopes to encourage all advertisers of pets to adhere to its minimum standards and has developed a success criterion for websites to aim towards.Politically, Defra, as a member of PAAG, is supportive of the minimum standards and on-going work of the group and it shares its hope that the Government will look to endorse the standards in the future.
Online advertising of pets has been linked to several emotive issues such as exotic and dangerous animals, puppy farming, fraudulent and bogus advertising, and sick and unhealthy animals.
PAAG hopes that the Westminster and devolved Governments will recognise that voluntary compliance does not go far enough and further intervention is required to more closely monitor what is largely an unregulated sector.
Please choose a route that your pets welfare is at the forefront and FTGH adverts can not secure that.
Search around the area and online for a bespoke rescue dedicated to the type of animal you have, be prepared to travel and you will be able to re-home your per responsibly.