News & Features

A response to the CEO of DoneDeal

Monday May 19, 2014

The DSPCA was established in 1840 and as Ireland’s oldest and largest animal welfare organisation we believe passionately in protecting animals from cruelty, as I am sure both the ISPCA and Dogs Trust do. 

The DSPCA works well with many other groups who care for animals. We continue to help several local county SPCA’s and other rescue organisations. We are members of Eurogroup for animals and the only charity in Ireland affiliated with a European wide database for animals.

The DSPCA wishes to confirm that we do not receive any direct or indirect funding from DoneDeal or any other online classified advertisement company. It is a comfort to our supporters that we maintain a high level of independence.

We believe we are a force for change.  Where there is wrong, we have sought to address this on many occasions over the years. The complete lack of traceability of the identity of sellers who sell animals over the internet in classified advertisements and the horrific images of wanton cruelty is simply unacceptable and needs to change immediately.

The DSPCA have highlighted significant concerns we have with one such operator – DoneDeal – to bring about public debate on this issue and to bring about change. Such are the seriousness of the issues we have identified, particularly a large scale online Puppy trading ring, advertising of an unauthorised horse fair, inappropriate images of mutilation and cruelty etc we believe that DoneDeal need to take down its site and to introduce measures to allow clear identification of the seller of any animal for obvious reasons. We had offered DoneDeal our assistance in this process.


DoneDeal stated that by ceasing their trade in animals online that this will drive the market underground. The reality is DoneDeal announced in 2010 a commitment to work to control the online sale of animals and inappropriate advertising.  In fact very little, if anything, has changed despite these claims.

The DSPCA is continually contacted by members of the public with complaints concerning animals which were sourced on Donedeal from unscrupulous breeders particularly but not exclusively puppies. As recent as today, we received a complaint from a family who sourced a Pug Puppy via DoneDeal on 15 May. That puppy spent two days fighting for its life and was finally destroyed by a Veterinary Surgery in South Dublin. The seller predictably cannot be traced nor have Donedeal any trace. The cost of care for that animal for one day was 400 euros with the owners having spent 290 euros buying the animal. This is one case in a long long list of suffering to animals brought about by this greedy trade.

DSPCA were provided with information by DoneDeal on a particularly large Puppy trading case we highlighted last week. The information provided was of no use in tracing these people and DoneDeal simply do not have the adequate processes in place to allow identification.

The DSPCA appreciates that the online selling of animals is here to stay. We take the view that this must be controlled and regulated. For Instance, the DSPCA welcomes the recent announcement by Horse Sport Ireland of an online classified advertisement facility,, that works only with registered and identifiable breeders. We also recognise that there are many good and decent breeders who sell their animals on line and who should have no difficulty in identifying themselves. The DSPCA has had discussions with breeders and their organisations who confirm that they wish to see change at DoneDeal and other classified advertisement websites which allows unscrupulous puppy breeders to be identified and closed down for the good of all animals.

Frankly, I would like to ask ISPCA, Dogs Trust and all the other animal welfare organisations to accept that it is now time for change at DoneDeal and other sites and we need to work together with DSPCA to bring about the necessary change.

The DSPCA also requests ISPCA and Dogs Trust not to advertise on DoneDeal as this is giving credibility to their website. This suggests to the Public that all is well, when clearly it is not.

There has been little achieved over many years of ‘working’ with DoneDeal. It is now time for action.

As CEO of DSPCA I am issuing this as an open letter in the interest of an informed public debate on this crucial issue facing animal welfare in Ireland. The DSPCA will continue in our efforts to regulate this matter and we would welcome your assistance.




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