A new ‘dog for sale’ advert is created online every two minutes in the UK.

Battersea launches new awareness-raising campaign

An increasing number of people are going online to find a new pet instead of visiting rescue centres, according to Battersea Dogs & Cats Home.

A new ‘dog for sale’ advert is created online every two minutes in the UK, while a new ‘cat for sale’ ad is created every four.  Battersea says this means they are having to compete with the many animals for sale on poorly regulated websites and social media pages.

Battersea’s deputy chief executive Peter Laurie said the charity’s dog rehoming has been in decline for many years. Last year, it found new homes for eight per cent fewer dogs than in 2016, and it is seeing identical trends for cats too.

“We were rehoming growing numbers of cats until last year when numbers fell 16 per cent, as we and most animal charities struggle to compete with the mammoth platform of online sales,” he said. “You can buy a pet with the click of a mouse, often with no idea if you’re going to get the same animal as the cute photograph that caught your eye and with no real idea of its background or personality.”

He continued: “It’s animal rescues that then pick up the pieces. In the first three months of this year alone, we’ve taken in more than 100 dogs bought online, whose owners can no longer care for them, often due to veterinary problems or behavioural issues they didn’t know they had.”

To raise awareness of the issue, Battersea has launched a new campaign to show the public the unconditional love and care given to animals that come though its doors. The campaign is backed by broadcaster Sue Perkins, who is the proud owner of rescue Staffordshire bull terrier Tig.

“Getting Tig is certainly one of the best decisions I’ve ever made,” said Sue. “I’d urge anyone considering adding a dog or cat to their family to adopt one from somewhere like Battersea.

“Buying online is so risky – you don’t know what you’re getting and you could be fuelling an irresponsible breeder. What lies beneath some of these adverts is truly heart-breaking. When it comes to pets, rescue is definitely best.”

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