People can sell pets anonymously on eBay’s classified ad sites around the world, including Gumtree (which is owned by eBay), making it very easy to sell illegal, sick and mistreated animals.

Help us push them into action!

Sign our petition now
*Fictional quote based on the reality of the puppy trade

“It didn’t matter whether the puppies were healthy or as good as dead. Thanks eBay!”

A former illegal puppy trader tells all. Listen to what he says about the “animal mafia”.

People can sell pets anonymously on eBay’s classified ad sites around the world, including Gumtree (which is owned by eBay), making it very easy to sell illegal, sick and mistreated animals.

Help us push them into action!

Sign our petition now

“It didn’t matter whether the puppies were healthy or as good as dead. Thanks eBay!”

A former illegal puppy trader tells all. Listen to what he says about the “animal mafia”.

How puppies bred in cruelty end up on eBay’s classified sites

1. The breeders

The cruel puppy trade is driven by a network of puppy farm breeders that churn out puppies like they are products being made in a factory. This lucrative and cut-throat business puts money first and does not consider the welfare of the animals at all.

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For these breeders it is not important to raise healthy, happy puppies. Money is the priority. Female dogs are exploited as breeding machines that are bred from continually, only to be killed or abandoned once they are no longer able to be bred from. Kept in tiny cages, given inadequate food, they rarely see the light of day.

Every year, these breeding animals give birth to hundreds of thousands of puppies on puppy farms. Born in sheds or industrial buildings, these puppies are kept in dark, dirty cages without proper food or water. Often sick and living in fear. Compassion and love for animals is non-existent at these puppy farms.

After several weeks, this horror comes to an end and a new trauma starts: the puppies are separated from their mothers – far too early. They are transported hundreds of miles to the UK to be sold onto dealers who advertise them for sale as ‘home bred’ puppies on classified ad sites.

Puppies from these conditions are being sold anonymously on eBay’s classified sites, including Gumtree, and we want to see this stopped!

2. The drivers

Relaxation of the laws around cross-border transportation of animals in the EU has seen a huge rise in the number of illegal puppies being smuggled into countries like the UK where demand is high and profits can be huge for a pedigree puppy. Drivers will travel hundreds of miles with a van full of puppies from countries like Hungary, Lithuania, Poland and Czech Republic, where it is cheaper to farm puppies.

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This is no small-scale operation. Those involved operate like criminal gangs which include a network of corrupt breeders, drivers and sellers, who all rely on classified ad sites to make the final sale.

Puppies are driven for days through Europe without adequate food and water, locked up in small cages in the back of dark lorries. Because the puppies are usually not properly vaccinated, the danger of infectious disease is high, and many of the animals become sick or even die as a result.

We believe most people buying on eBay’s classified sites, such as Gumtree, would be shocked to hear about the reality of this trade. You can help stop this by signing our petition today to call on eBay to stop the animal suffering, by ending anonymous sales and implementing seller identity verification!

3. The sellers

After the puppies arrive in the UK they are usually either sold by the transporter directly or passed onto a local seller who will advertise the puppies via classified ad sites such as Gumtree.

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It is difficult to find out on eBay’s classified sites which breeders are legitimate and which ones aren’t. All that the ad shows in terms of the seller is their name, email address and/or telephone number, all of which can be faked so that the seller cannot be traced.

It is also difficult to spot a suspicious seller when viewing the puppy. Often the seller appears genuine and will say that the puppies are ‘home bred’. The same also goes for the area in which the viewing takes place, which is usually in a very ordinary residential area.

We believe that eBay should protect its customers and the animals sold on its classified ad sites, by verifying the identity of all pet sellers advertising on their platforms. This will greatly help to reduce cruel and irresponsible sellers and help reduce the suffering of thousands of animals. Tell eBay to stop its classified ad sites being used as a business tool for cruel puppy traders by introducing seller identify verification on all of its classified sites! Seller verification means that sellers would need to provide proof of their identity first in order to sell animals and it would stop anonymous, untraceable sales!

4. The victims

When buying a puppy on an online classified ad site from a cruel puppy breeder, there is sadly hardly ever a happy ending! Often, the new addition to the family is sick or poorly socialised. Some even die.

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After a while it turns out, that instead of a healthy happy puppy, a very sick and traumatised dog was purchased.

A sick puppy can bring a lot of sadness and stress into its new owner’s life, not to mention potentially huge vet bills!

There can also be health risks for families that buy an illegally imported puppy, for example they may be affected by parasitic conditions that can also affect humans, such as tapeworms or giardia.

When these unwitting victims of the cruel puppy trade try to get answers about the state of their puppy, it is often not possible to reach the seller anymore. The seller can advertise an animal for sale with nothing more than their email address as identification, which makes tracing the seller very difficult.

If you yourself became a victim of the illegal puppy trade on Gumtree, please share your experiences with us on stoppuppytraders.org, and contact the relevant authority to report the case.

Checklist for buying a puppy

We always suggest that people who want a puppy first consider adopting from a local shelter, where there are always many animals waiting for a new home, including pedigree puppies.

However, if you do want to buy a puppy from a breeder or adoption is not an option for some reason, please take time to make an informed decision! The following checklist will help you:

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  • Avoid buying a puppy from advertisements, newspaper classifieds, the Internet or animal stores.

  • Make sure that you see the mother dog and ask for important paperwork for the puppy, such as vaccination and microchip papers and a pet passport, if applicable. A purchase agreement should be available as well.

  • Spend enough time with the puppy to make sure it’s the right temperament for you. Ask as may questions as you want – a responsible breeder should be happy to support you before and after buying a puppy.

  • Check the puppy’s eyes, nose and ears for discharge sores and look carefully for any fleas or skin problems.

  • Make sure the puppy is at least eight weeks old before it leaves its mother and check the paperwork for its first vaccinations.

  • If you have any concerns, ask a local vet to accompany you when you make a second visit.