Animal rights activists are demanding Gumtree bans free pet adverts after numerous cases of horrific abuse and abandonment.
Many instances of animal abuse have surfaced on social media, which have been linked to free pet ads on the classified advert site, leading to a Melbourne woman launching a petition to ban the practice.
Casey Kemp created the campaign on Change.org which has attracted more than 130,000 signatures.
She explained her concerns that many dogs are acquired from the site to be used in illegal dog fighting or as live bait to train fighting dogs.
“These animals endure horrific trauma,” she wrote. “There are also cases where animals have been handed over to ‘good homes’ and have turned out to be anything but.”
Kemp referenced a case involving a young dog named Bow who was given ‘FREE to a good home’ on Gumtree.
“A few weeks later, his body was discovered bound and bloodied. Stabbed to death,” she explained.
Last year a Queensland animal shelter warned people not to give pets away on social media after a puppy was found with severe face injuries.
After the original owners gave the puppy away they were blocked on Facebook by the new owners, who then used the pet as bait to train fighting dogs.
To support her petition, Kemp also referred to a case in which a woman was found guilty of ‘torturing and mutilating defenceless animals’ which were found on Gumtree.
“There are many ways to rehome your beloved pets,” she continues. “Adding a substantial price tag does help ward of offenders, however, surrendering your animal to your local rescue group is the best option.”
Gumtree told SBS it is considering updating its policy.
“Animal welfare is a huge priority for Gumtree, and we are currently in the process of a review of our policies,” a spokesperson explained.
“As we work through these changes, we strongly encourage our community to use the ‘report ad’ function to flag any concerning ads or any they believe do not adhere to our pets policy.”
The Humane Society International estimates there are 150 illegal dogfighting rings operating in Australia.
“I follow a lot of rescue groups and there were a few I’d seen recurrently posting about animals given away on Gumtree for free, and later they’d been found killed, tortured and dumped,” Kemp told SBS.
“I thought to myself why isn’t anyone doing anything about this?”
Facebook and eBay, among other sites, have already banned live animal sales.
“I was actually going on Gumtree every day scouring the site for these free ads and messaging people personally saying ‘there’s better ways to do this’,” she added.
Should free pet ads be illegal? Share your thoughts in the comments.
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