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Former puppy dealer reveals animal cruelty on eBay classified sites


FOUR PAWS advises eBay against losing the trust of their users

Brussels, 14.12.2017 – As a result of the investigation of international animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS, a former puppy dealer has revealed the dreadful reality of the workings of the “puppy mafia” on eBay’s classified websites. Illegal sellers use these sites, such as Gumtree in the UK and eBay Kleinanzeigen in Germany, to trade often underage and seriously ill puppies, many of which are smuggled from Eastern European puppy farms. In response to the shocking revelations, FOUR PAWS is calling for the introduction of mandatory seller verification on all eBay’s classified ad sites to end the anonymous trade and to restore the trust of its users.


Adorable puppies may seem for some to be the perfect present for children and other loved ones at Christmas. Cheap offers of seemingly happy dogs can be found on a huge scale on classified sites, such as eBay’s Gumtree. However, behind the ads are often unscrupulous puppy dealers who make huge profits from the suffering of young dogs. One of these dealers is now publicly speaking out for the first time about the puppy mafia's fraudulent activities as part of the new FOUR PAWS campaign against the illegal trade of animals online. "I would say that the vast majority of pet ads on eBay’s classified sites come from illegal traders. Most of them get their puppies from Eastern European mass-breeders. They keep the dogs in dirty, tiny cages. There is no veterinary care and proper food. After four or five years, the female dogs can no longer reproduce and are therefore worthless. They get abandoned or brutally killed. The most seriously ill puppies seem fit and lively to the buyers thanks to adrenaline shots but the real truth comes later," says Andreas K., a former puppy dealer, who was active in Germany and whose full name cannot be disclosed for safety reasons.


eBay's reliability in danger

In order to combat the cruel and illegal trade in puppies, FOUR PAWS is calling on eBay to introduce compulsory seller verification on all of its classified advertising sites. "The root of the problem is above all the anonymity available to such illegal sellers on eBay's sites. After a successful transaction, the puppy dealers can simply delete their accounts so that they are not traceable and then easily open several new ones. This is not only enabling animal cruelty but also presents severe danger to eBay’s reputation as its customers fall victim to criminals on its classified advertising sites," explains Julie Sanders, International Director of Companion Animals Programme at FOUR PAWS.


It’s not only the puppies who suffer

Many of the puppies that are sold online are seriously ill due to bad breeding practices and the unsuitable conditions in which they are raised. In addition, the breeders take the puppies from their mothers far too early to make money from them as quickly as possible. "The buyers of sick dogs face hard times – both emotionally and financially. I know of cases where veterinary costs of around 7,000 Euros have suddenly occurred within just a week. And it is also not a pleasant experience to watch a suffering puppy being put down,” says Andreas K.


2,500 new dog ads daily

FOUR PAWS investigated two of eBay’s sites – “Gumtree” in the UK and “eBay Kleinanzeigen” in Germany – during August and September 2017. The results of the research show that a total of around 2,500 new dog ads were uploaded daily. On average, the sellers offered two puppies for sale per ad, which means an estimated two million dogs per year – some of which would have been illegally imported. "It is time for eBay to clean up its act and become a leader in the industry by proactively protecting its customers and the animals sold on its websites. A global commitment to seller verification covering the sale of all pets sold on its classified ad sites would be just the perfect gift for Christmas," concluded Julie Sanders.