By Georgia Dunstan-Brown
A rise in the number of animals for sale on Facebook groups is concerning animal welfare organisations who say it is becoming too easy to purchase animals without following any regulations.
Facebook pages such as Vic Deals — which has more than 80,000 members — often see users posting their pet animals for cheap, or free, to good homes.
Over the past week, dogs, cats and rabbits have all been posted to the Vic Deals page in an attempt to try and send them to new homes.
Issi Maloret, a trustee at Wellington animal shelter Helping You Helping Animals (HUHA), says buy/sell/swap pages have become a go to place for people to get rid of unwanted animals.
She says pet owners often think they can make some money by selling unwanted pets.
“It has almost become an epidemic of constant listings on Facebook pages, many puppies and kittens are underage, not de-sexed, unvaccinated etc.
“It treats these vulnerable animals as commodities – no difference to buying off a shelf at a shop with little regard to the animal’s welfare.”
Sharmazard, a dog owner from Wellington posts on Facebook, “people definitely don’t understand the commitment of having a dog especially. You see it on Vic Deals every week, people just giving away pets that they ‘love’ because they’re moving houses or can’t afford them anymore.
“If you have a dog, you have it til the day it dies, you do everything in your power possible to look after it and love it as much as it’s humanly possible.”
Maloret says it’s easier to get animals through these pages, as many sellers don’t go through any of the recommended prior checks necessary to ensure buyers are prepared for the commitment it takes to own an animal.
Many of these animals then end up dumped at shelters and pounds when their owners can no longer provide for them, she says.
She believes one of the ways to improve the situation is to teach people the full commitment of owning a pet, including their lifespan, and the financial commitment of vet bills, training and food.
“More people need to look at animals for what they are, which is sentient beings, meaning that they feel love, stress and other emotions the same as humans,” she says.