Cute.Quick.Sick – how FOUR PAWS are helping tackle the illegal puppy trade

In our increasingly online world, the illegal puppy trade is a growing threat to the wellbeing of companion animals around the world.

Rife with animal cruelty and deception, the illegal puppy trade means every year, countless puppies are bred in deplorable conditions, taken from their mothers too early and transported across Europe to be sold online via classified ad sites.

FOUR PAWS keenly advocate for those looking to add a new furry friend to their family, to adopt rather than shop. But for those unable to, are strongly urged to #ThinkBeforeYouClick.

To help combat this exploitative trade, FOUR PAWS have not only launched awareness campaigns, and an impactful reporting tool, but have also developed a ‘Model Solution for full traceability across the European online puppy trade’. This solution requires all puppies to be microchipped and registered, and the seller’s details verified, before they can be advertised online.

It’s undeniable that we’re a nation of animal lovers and whilst FOUR PAWS always advocates adopting a new four-legged friend, for some, the desire to add a new pet quickly to their family will win out and they turn to the internet for speedy results.

The latest FOUR PAWS Cute. Quick. Sick campaign aims to raise awareness of the illegal puppy trade and demonstrate how you can avoid being duped when searching for a new furry friend online.

The campaign shares stories from animals and families caught up in the cruel trade. Families who have lost thousands of pounds to vet’s bills, to cure their puppy who arrived dangerously sick, or sadly, lost their new furry family member far too soon.

They may be cute, it may be quick, but the risk of them arriving sick and uncared for is very real.

A number of case studies included in the campaign shared their experiences through FOUR PAWS UK’s reporting tool.

This tool allows people who have experienced the illegal puppy trade to report their experiences named, or anonymous, and since its launch last year, nearly 1,000 reports have been received from people who have unfortunately fallen victim to unscrupulous breeders.

A shocking 11% of those reports detailed how the puppies purchased ended up with parvovirus resulting in sickness and in some cases death.

With 35% of all cases under investigation by legal experts, these reports serve to highlight just how much more work needs to be done to close the gaps in this trade and ensure a transparent and accountable market can take its place.

Interestingly, the reports showed that most of the reported adverts that offered these sick and deceased puppies came from websites familiar to us all, such as Facebook and Pets4Homes.

Sites like these, so common they are household names, easily appear reputable to the public, but surprisingly require very few checks when listing animal adverts on these pages. Because of this, unfortunately innocent animals and families are left to pay the price. This is why FOUR PAWS call for full traceability.

To find out more about FOUR PAWS and their work here.


To find out more about FOUR PAWS and their work here.

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