IPAAG launches #PuppyDotCon campaign to highlight the dangers of buying a pet online

1 October 2018

During World Animal Week 1st – 7th October 2018, the Irish Pet Advertising Advisory Group (IPAAG) is launching a campaign to raise awareness about the dangers of responding to online pet advertisements.

A thought provoking video called #PuppyDotCon is being released as part of the campaign, which demonstrates how easy it is to be fooled by unscrupulous breeders highlights the dangers of buying a pet online.

Although we would encourage adopting a pet from a reputable animal welfare organisation, IPAAG recognises that more people than ever are looking online when they decide to get a pet. However, IPAAG is encouraging members of the public who decide to buy a puppy or other pet online to do their research first, look out for red flags in online advertisements, and be armed with the information required before making any decision. If in doubt, walk away!


Thousands of puppies, dogs and other animals are advertised on DoneDeal.ie and other online classified websites in Ireland every month, highlighting the sheer scale of the demand for people opting to purchase a pet online. Being able to sell puppies online makes it very easy for unscrupulous breeders to conceal the substandard and often dangerous conditions their puppies come from. Animal welfare organisations regularly hear from individuals and families who purchased a pet from an online advertisement only for it to fall sick or even die soon afterward.

Gordon, a father from Dublin, and his family went through such a tragedy after purchasing a puppy from an online advert.
He bought the puppy for his daughter, who is in first year at school.

“My daughter suffers from anxiety,” Gordon said. “We thought having a puppy would help her make friends—sharing photos and videos, bringing it around school to collect her.”

Gordon’s daughter was so excited to get a new puppy when Gordon brought her home. But it only took a day for Gordon to realise something was terribly wrong.

Within two days, the puppy was severely ill. She was lethargic, vomiting and had diarrhoea.

Gordon rushed the puppy to the vet, where it was confirmed she had parvovirus, a viral infection that is
often fatal to puppies. The puppy was transferred to the Pet Emergency Hospital at UCD where she was on a
drip. But, sadly like many puppies who contract the virus, she didn’t survive.

In Gordon’s tragic case, he was left with a bill over €1,300, a devastated family, and no puppy.
Puppies need to be vaccinated against parvovirus by a vet from 6 weeks of age, before they are old enough
to be sold. When Gordon bought his puppy, the breeder gave him a vaccination card for her.

It had a sticker and initials, but it had not been stamped by a vet, indicating the card was fake.

“We also have another older dog, thank god he didn’t get parvo,” said Gordon. “We had to throw out all the
new bedding, dog bowls, and toys.”

Holly Carpenter at the launch of IPAAG’s #PuppyDotCon campaign


IPAAG Chairperson and ISPCA CEO Dr Andrew Kelly said: “We always encourage prospective pet owners to
consider adopting a pet from a reputable rescue organisation first. However, we do recognise that people
will turn to their computers when looking to buy or sell almost anything at the click of a mouse and sadly
pets are not exempt from this. This is why we believe the best solution is to engage with online classified
sites. DoneDeal are extremely cooperative and do everything they can to adhere to IPAAG’s Minimum
Standards and remove advertisements in breach of these standards and that contain animal welfare
concerns. We hope anyone looking to get a new pet, particularly a puppy, will visit www.ipaag.ie and read
the information there, download our Puppy Checklist and avoid falling victim to unscrupulous breeders.”

IPAAG’s #PuppyDotCon campaign will include a checklist for prospective buyers to help them identify
welfare issues in online advertisements, as well as other information to enable potential pet owners to buy a
healthy pet with confidence.

IPAAG launch PuppyDotCon

Rosanna Davison and Pete Wedderburn at the launch of #PuppyDotCon

Visit our advice pages for more information, and report any animal welfare concerns to the ISPCA National
Animal Cruelty Helpline by visiting https://www.ispca.ie/cruelty_complaint or calling 1890 515 515.

Follow the conversations on Twitter using the hashtag #PuppyDotCon and follow our IPAAG updates on