The RSPCA is highlighting the risks and realities of buying puppies on the internet. It says there are huge issues about buying pets online.
It comes alongside a massive increase in the use of websites to sell and rehome dogs in the last decade. There's been an almost 800% increase in the number of dogs listed on online marketplace Gumtree between 2007 and 2016.
In teaming up with Gumtree, the animal charity is warning buyers to take care when looking for dogs online. It says the internet can provide the perfect marketplace for a trade which puts profit over the welfare of the dogs.
The RSPCA fears the soaring demand for fashionable breeds is fuelling the online puppy trade, as demand drastically outstrips the numbers coming to market through legitimate and responsible sources.
French Bulldogs are the most searched-for breed for sale online, ahead of Labradors, Jack Russells and Pugs. According to figures from the RSPCA and Gumtree, there were more than 66,000 searches for the fashionable breed in February last year alone.
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Gumtree UK says it works to ensure its site is a safe place to find pets and makes it as hard as possible for illegal traders to operate on the site. For example, it deletes any ads thatr indicate signs of animal cruelty.
Last year, the charity saw its busiest year tackling the illegal puppy trade, receiving more calls than ever from people reporting questionable breeders and dealers. The RSPCA received 132% more calls to its cruelty line than five years ago.
The animal charity says anyone looking to buy a puppy should use its Puppy Contract to help ensure they are buying a happy and healthy dog.
It is also encouraging people to consider rehoming a dog from a rescue centre instead.