The GSPCA has issued important advice on safely purchasing pets, after a series of ‘unscrupulous' individuals have tried to scam people through false advertisements of puppies for sale.
The animal charity has received reports of Facebook posts for dogs that could either not exist, or be from puppy farms or backgrounds that are 'not ideal for the animal’s welfare.'
GSPCA Manager Steve Byrne said that scammers are taking advantage of the pandemic to deceive larger amounts of people.
“Around 400 to 500 households in Guernsey look for a new dog, and about the same look for a new cat, every year,” he said.
“With travel so difficult, many people have gone online to look for new four-legged friends, and there are scammers out there trying to deceive good people out of money with false adverts online.”
Mr Byrne suggested that those in search of a new companion seek advice from the Pet Advertising Advisory Group, who work to improve the ways pets are advertised in order to thwart scammers.
He also warned against the use of marketplaces on social media sites like Facebook.
“There are 1000s of users that follow pages selling all sorts of goods and sometimes animals. There are also false charities that create pages to try and sell animals that don’t exist.
“It is extremely important to verify who you are dealing with before you part with any money. The best way to find an animal is to be referred by a friend or vet.”
In 2015, the GSPCA intercepted 25 puppies which were being transported to the UK by a dealer who was later sentenced with animal cruelty and fraud; it is these kinds of activities that sometimes lurk behind fraudulent online advertisements.
Anyone with concerns about animal cruelty, neglect or false advertising is asked to report it to the GSPCA on 257261, or to email Animal Welfare Manager Lorna Chadwick on firstname.lastname@example.org.
A summary of the 10-step guide to purchasing puppies, which was produced in association with Defra and the British Veterinary Association, can be read in the gallery above, or in full HERE.
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