Discounted dogs are being marketed to Black Friday shoppers, as pet charities warn purchases could be funding puppy farms

·3-min read
Discounted dogs are being marketed to Black Friday shoppers, as pet charities warn purchases could be funding puppy farms
Discounted dogs are being marketed to Black Friday shoppers, as pet charities warn purchases could be funding puppy farms

Discounted dogs are being marketed to Black Friday shoppers, a pet charity has found, as it warned purchases could be funding "horrific" puppy farms.

The People's Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) issued a warning about buying dogs online as it found puppies being sold in the Black Friday sales.

Black Friday, traditionally begins today but kicked off a week early this year starting on Friday 22 November with British shoppers estimated to spend £5.6 billion in the lead up to Cyber Monday.

However, this is £1.4 billion less than in 2018 (£7 billion), according to new research by personal finance comparison website finder.com.

Gen Z, who are born after 1996, are set to be the generation that spends the most and have the highest proportion of shoppers with almost two thirds (64 per cent) planning to fork out £261.29 on average.

But, animal charities have warned that pets being sold online over the weekend could have been “born and reared in horrific conditions”. One advert on Gumtree.com reads: “Adorable French Bulldogs Black Friday Sale”.

The description of the sale added that five “Blue Girls” had been reduced from £2000 to £1200 and one “Black Boy” was reduced from £1200 to £1000.

Penny Morgan, a vet for the PDSA, said: "With more and more pets being advertised for sale online, it's really important to avoid buying from a puppy farm, or a poor environment.

"You should always see them at their home, with their mother, before buying. A report by the charity found 4.6 million pet owners in the UK did no research at all before taking on their pet.

RSPCA dog welfare expert Lisa Hens said: “It’s extremely worrying to see that some sellers are offering Black Friday deals to cash in on living, sentient beings and encourage impulse buying.

“If you see a Black Friday deal, a countdown to Christmas offer or a discount that seems too good to be true, the likelihood is that it is.

“These could be puppies born and reared in horrific conditions without access to appropriate care who may quickly fall ill and develop long-term behaviour problems.

“You could also be supporting this disgusting trade by handing over money to puppy farmers.”

Ms Hens added that responsible breeders will take care to ensure that their puppies go to the best homes during a process that can take weeks, if not months.

The RSPCA advises all prospect owners to use The Puppy Contract, an online resource for responsible breeding and buying.

Meanwhile, parents have been warned that they should adjust the controls on voice activated tech ahead of the sales to stop children going on spending sprees.

It was estimated that footfall across retail destinations will decline by -4.5 per cent according to Retail intelligence experts Springboard, as shoppers instead use voice assisted tech such as the Amazon’s Echo device and Google Home to nab bargains.

Wunderman Thompson Commerce predicts that £100 million (2.5 per cent) of all goods purchased online over the Black Friday period will be made through voice assistants. By 2022, this is could be as high as 10 per cent.

Internet Matters, a not-for-profit that helps families stay safe online advised adults to set parental controls, mute speakers when they’re not using the device so it can’t listen in on conversations and to set up children’s accounts.

CEO Carolyn Bunting said: "Setting the correct controls can help minimise the risk of children accessing inappropriate content, listening to music with explicit lyrics or making phone calls without parents knowledge.

"Parents may also leave themselves open to unwanted bills this Christmas - as their child may be able to make unauthorised purchases on the voice-activated devices.”

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