Here’s how to spot ‘pet fishing’ this Christmas as government issues warning

The government has sought to educate the public on how to avoid getting ripped off when purchasing a pet (Image: Shutterstock)

Buying a dog or a cat can be an extremely exciting and rewarding thing to do.

Puppies, kittens and others pets like rabbits and hamsters can combat loneliness, improve mental and physical health, and fuel learning and purpose.

As such, it is not surprising that the Covid-19 pandemic has seen an increase in the number of people purchasing pets.

But the government has warned the public to be careful about where they buy their pets and highlighted a practice it called “pet fishing.”

So what is pet fishing and how do you avoid falling victim to this practice?

Here’s what you need to know.

What is pet fishing?

Pet fishing is when dishonest breeders or crooks attempt to sell pets that have been raised in poor conditions.

For example, they may use bogus online ads containing archival footage to trick the buyer into believing that the puppy or kitten they want to buy is of a certain breed or raised in a better environment. than it really is.

Or, there might not even be a pet behind the ad.

In coining this term, the government seems to refer to cat fishing, which involves luring someone into a relationship using a fake online character.

Some animals advertised online may not be from breeders with adequate welfare standards (Image: Shutterstock)

Its new campaign comes after a survey of 175 veterinarians and veterinary surgeries found that 68% of pet owners were unaware of the clinical and behavioral signs indicating that their pet was from or was linked to animal practices. low welfare breeding.

Other research undertaken for the government by Opinion Matters pollsters found that of more than 1,000 people who had purchased a cat or dog, only 43% had visited their pet seller in person in the home. of the animal.

He also found that 27% of those polled had come across a seller or an ad that made them suspect the welfare of the animal in question.

What is the government trying to do to stop it?

The government has launched a campaign to educate the public on how to avoid being caught as a pet.

To arm people with the precautionary knowledge and questions needed to prevent pet fishing, he came up with the acronym SPOT.

  • Seller: put the seller’s name and details, including phone number, in a search engine – avoid those with multiple listings
  • Parent: be sure to see puppies and kittens in their house with their mother
  • Old enough: Make sure puppies and kittens are at least eight weeks old before bringing them home
  • Processing: ask to see the animal’s health record and avoid sellers who cannot provide them
Low-welfare breeding systems, like puppy farms, can lead to poor long-term health outcomes (Image: Shutterstock)

“It is vitally important that people research not only the breed of animal they want, but also the person selling it to them,” Chief Veterinarian Christine Middlemiss said at the campaign launch.

“Puppies and kittens raised under conditions of low welfare can often be separated from their mothers too soon, which can lead to serious health and behavior problems, heartache and high vet bills for their newborn. family.

“We urge people to be vigilant and always research pet sellers thoroughly before making contact. “

But some groups believe the government should go further to tackle this type of criminal activity.

The trust of dogs says he wants policy makers to “strengthen the registration and licensing system for dog breeders and sellers” to tackle the problem of “irresponsible operators”.

“We believe that anyone raising, selling or transferring ownership of a puppy should be registered,” the organization says on its website.

“It should be, whether or not they make money from these activities. “

One of the measures suggested by the charity is to legally require that any advertising from a breeder or seller has a unique registration code or license number.

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