And for owners who find themselves with an unwanted animal for whatever reason, selling or giving a pet away on the web can feel like a quick, easy and ideal solution. However, selling an animal through a third party site such as Gumtree risks their health, welfare and happiness – and can also be dangerous and costly for both buyers and sellers.
Whilst not everyone who tries to buy or sell an animal on sites like Gumtree has a hidden agenda, they unarguably offer deceptive breeders and sellers a way of tricking the general public into spending hundreds or thousands of pounds on abused, unwell or unsuitable animals.
When purchasing a pet online, there is no existing way to check or authenticate the breed, health or welfare of the animal you are buying (or the credentials of the person selling it) – and no experts on hand to support the buyer, seller or animal itself through the process of rehoming.
This could result in people taking home a sick, injured or incompatible animal, or conversely, giving up a beloved pet into the arms of someone with nefarious intentions for the animal.
When Brave and Shadow – two adorable Chihuahua puppies – were born to an unneutered mother earlier this year, the owner quickly found herself overwhelmed and unable to cope with the new additions to the family.
The pregnancy had been unexpected, and the owner soon realised she was not in a position to keep the two puppies. Wanting to rehome them as soon as possible, she turned to Gumtree, listing them for sale.
As time went by and no serious offers were made, the owner began to get more and more desperate to get rid of the dogs. Luckily for little Brave and Shadow, she ended up turning to Mayhew to see if we could help.
Brave and Shadow were signed over into our care.
Unlike when selling pets online, our vets, Adoption Officers were on hand to support Brave and Shadow’s old and new owners during every step of rehoming process, and made the transition for Brave and Shadow as stress free as possible.
“Brave is settling into his new family life, and although at times he looks a little worried, his confidence is growing steadily day by day. He is so intelligent and playful, and a great addition to our home – we are so glad we found him.”
Loki, a Staffy/Collie/Greyhound crossbreed, was actually a beloved pet who’d lived with his original owner for a year. However, when she suddenly found herself in a difficult situation, it became clear to her that she would have to give Loki up.
Needing to rehome Loki as soon as possible, the owner listed him on Gumtree, hoping a new owner would come forward quickly. Thankfully, one of our Adoption Officers spotted the listing, and contacted the owner to ask if she would like to be part of our Rehome From Home scheme instead.
Rehome From Home is an innovative adoption scheme in which Mayhew supports an existing owner to keep their animal at home, until a brand new owner is found. This minimizes the stress felt by the animal as they are able to avoid coming into a shelter, and allows the prospective new owner to meet the animal in a natural and familiar environment.
It also prevents a pet going home with an unsuitable owner who then wishes to return or rehome the animal themselves.
During the Rehome From Home process, our Adoption Officers are able to collect an animal from its existing home and bring it in to Mayhew for veterinary treatment, health and behavioural checks, and can also help to provide food and care whilst the animal finds a new family.
We can also arrange temporary foster care for an animal if your situation escalates and it no longer becomes possible to keep your animal at home.
Earlier this year, Defra announced a ban on the third party sales of puppies and kittens under 8 weeks old, which forms part of a wider government overhaul of animal welfare regulations.
Together with tighter licensing and breeding laws, this ban will make it more difficult for younger animals to be sold on third party sites such as Gumtree. Puppy sales will only legally be able to be completed after they are 8 weeks old, in the environment where the animal has been born, and in the presence of the mother and the breeder/owner.
Along with fellow animal welfare charities, Mayhew are also urging existing and prospective pet owners to visit a shelter when looking to relinquish or adopt a four legged friend of any age.
“We need to do everything we can to make sure the nation’s much loved pets get the right start in life.”
Caroline Yates added: “We purport to be a nation of animal lovers. As such bringing a pup or kitten into a family home should never be a purely commercial transaction.”
Rehoming an animal from a registered shelter like Mayhew guarantees that the animal will have received a high standard of veterinary and social care prior to being adopted, and gives prospective owners the chance to chat to an animal expert, ask questions and find out more about the animals medical and behavioural history.
If you need help rehoming your pet, get in touch today and see how we can help.find out more
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