News & Features

DSPCA reveals extensive online puppy trading

Thursday May 15, 2014

The DSPCA (Dublin Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) has conducted a thorough investigation into online trading sites in recent weeks and are shocked at the enormity of animal abuse and the unacceptable volume of puppy trading that has been unearthed. 


Earlier this week, the DSPCA met with senior management from DoneDeal - the largest seller of animals online - and another online company.  The DSPCA presented DoneDeal with information on a series of multiple adverts which we had identified on their site.  One of the cases presented by the DSPCA included an as of yet, unidentified trader, who had in excess of 10 advertisements of different puppy breeds involving over 40 animals.  There are also a number of similar cases under investigation. 


DSPCA requested the assistance of DoneDeal in identifying these unscrupulous traders.  DoneDeal presented the DSPCA with a file of the information they have available for these traders.  DoneDeal, by their own admission, revealed that they are unable to clearly identify any sellers on their site as their procedures do not require sellers of animals to provide verification of their identity.   This is simply unacceptable.



The DSPCA sought this information to assist in our investigations into the online puppy traders. Regrettably the information received is of limited use to the DSPCA or indeed to any other agency in pursuit of investigations into evident animal cruelty. 


The DSPCA wishes to point out that the procedures promised as far back as 1st November 2010 by their then Chief Executive of DoneDeal to introduce procedures to identify animal/puppy traders/breeders have regrettably not been implemented.



The DSPCA has had many issues with these online sites over a long period of time.  Some of the more recent issues with DoneDeal include:


  • Advertising of an unauthorised Horse Fair in Kildare in March.

  • Images showing inappropriate treatment of animals including unsuitable living conditions for bitches and pups.

  • Sellers allowed to advertise multiple animals and litters of puppies.

  • Selling of restricted Veterinary medicines.

  • Selling of questionable dog training/deterrent devices.

  • Selling of puppies/dogs with illegally mutilated body parts such as docked tails.

  • Selling of guard dogs.

  • Selling of animal trapping equipment.

On Wednesday evening, the DSPCA recommended that DoneDeal remove its animal selling section from its website with immediate effect. The DSPCA felt this was appropriate so as to provide time to implement adequate controls for the online selling of animals. The DSPCA offered its assistance in developing these controls.  We note, with disappointment, that DoneDeal has declined our recommendation.


The DSPCA is urging all animal welfare agencies who advertise on DoneDeal to cease from doing so immediately and to join with the DSPCA in alerting the general public of the significant animal welfare issues that sites such as these foster.


The DSPCA is continuing its investigations through other channels and the DSPCA will not stop until there are adequate and responsible controls for the online selling of animals in Ireland or alternatively these sites are closed down.


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