Animal welfare groups have voiced concerns about the increasing popularity of online pet sales.
RSPCA Victoria’s Liz Walker said while the animals might look adorable, people need to be cautious.
“While many people believe the pets they purchase online are perfectly healthy, well-bred animals, the fact is the majority of the hundreds of thousands of puppies and kittens advertised for sale over the internet are from intensive breeding operations,” Dr Walker said.
“These profit-seeking, unscrupulous breeders are placing emphasis on quantity breeding over quality care.”
Dr Walker said online deals might be good for electronics and clothing, but not for pets.
“They are living, breathing, thinking creatures that experience both happiness and suffering,” she said.
Despite the concerns, one woman argues the internet can be an effective way to sell pets without compromising on animal welfare.
Stacey Spackman’s four-year-old Jack Russell, Ruby, recently gave birth to her first litter of puppies.
Ms Spackman, who’s from the Ne South Wales town of West Wyalong, decided to advertise the puppies on Facebook.
“I put up a post on my personal page showing photos and information about the puppies and their parents,” she said.
“It was the easiest way to sell them because [the advertising] was free, it was instant, and it reached such a wide range of people.”
Four out of Ms Spackman’s five puppies sold from leads generated on Facebook.
Ms Spackman said her main concern was who would be buying the pets.
“I talked to the buyers and asked them a lot of questions about why they wanted a puppy,” she said.
“There’s always a risk that no matter how animals are being sold, that they could go to a bad home, so it’s up to the seller to make sure they do research and ask lots of questions about the potential buyer.”
Another benefit of using Facebook was that Ms Spackman already knew some of the buyers.
“Several of the people who bought them live in my town and others are friends of friends, so it gave me piece of mind that they would be going to good home,” she said.
The RSPCA advises buyers to purchase pets from local animal shelters or rescue groups, or from a registered breeder.
“A good breeder provides very high standards of care for their animals including all veterinary checks, vaccinations, registration with council, micro-chipping and desexing and will happily let you meet the parents of your puppy or kitten,” Dr Walker said.
Dr Walker said buying a pet was a big commitment, which needed to be taken seriously.