In response to concerns from The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, measures will be put in place to ensure that puppy mill dogs will no longer be sold via Marketplace on Facebook, an action the ASPCA believes will help combat the inhumane puppy mill industry.
Many puppies sold online come from puppy mills and are commonly bred in unsanitary, overcrowded, and often cruel conditions without sufficient veterinary care, food, water, or socialization. As part of its national “No Pet Store Puppies” campaign, the ASPCA worked with Facebook and Oodle, the company that powers Marketplace on Facebook, to restrict online classifieds listing puppy mill dogs for sale from the site. Through an ongoing removal process, ads listing puppy mill dogs have begun to come down this month. The process was designed to allow users to continue posting dogs available for a nominal adoption or rehoming fee.
“Removing an online platform for the cruel puppy mill industry sets a positive example of corporate citizenship and will help improve the lives of countless dogs,” said ASPCA President and CEO Ed Sayres. “Most consumers are unaware they are perpetuating animal cruelty by purchasing a puppy online, and given the visibility of Marketplace on Facebook, this move has the potential to raise critical awareness about unscrupulous online breeders.”
While facilities that breed puppies for commercial resale through pet stores are required to be licensed and inspected under the federal Animal Welfare Act, puppy mills that sell directly to consumers via the Internet are exempt from any federal oversight. Unregulated internet breeders sell tens of thousands of puppies a year to unsuspecting consumers, and the sale of puppies online has been increasing significantly in recent years as more puppy mill investigations are brought to light. Further, the Internet Crime Complaint Center notes that hundreds of complaints are filed every year from victims who are scammed when buying a dog online.
“Consumers who purchase a puppy from a website run the risk of acquiring an unhealthy animal and often end up with expensive vet bills and broken hearts,” said Cori Menkin, senior director of the ASPCA Puppy Mills Campaign. “We hope additional online retailers and classifieds will follow this example and stop providing a platform for puppy mill sales.”
The ASPCA’s “No Pet Store Puppies” campaign aims to reduce the demand for puppy mill puppies by urging consumers to take an online pledge not to buy any items—including food, supplies or toys—from stores or websites that sell puppies. The ASPCA encourages consumers to adopt a pet from a local shelter or rescue, or, alternatively, seek out a responsible breeder.