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How much is that doggie in your browser? You’d be surprised.

February 4, 2013 21 comments

I thought I would start you off with a few numbers today.

361,527

That’s the total number of ads for puppy sales that appeared on just nine (9) high-volume puppy sale websites (yes on the internet) on Wednesday, July 18, 2012.

I’ll give you another number.

733, 131

The number of individual puppies that appeared for sale in ads on those same nine high-volume puppy sale websites that same day.

And yet, one more number for you.

62%

The very conservative number of puppies estimated to have come from puppy mills that appeared on those sites (in online ads) that same day. (If this number were to be extrapolated to the number of puppies appearing in these online ads over 365 days that would be 81,813,560 puppies a year.)

So where did these numbers come from? A report issued by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) in 2012. They generated these numbers by studying nine online sites known for their high-volume sale of puppies.  The methodology was the same one used by IFAW in their 2008 investigation into the online sales of endangered species products.

You can read the full report here, and I encourage you to do so, but I wanted thought I would share some of the highlights of the report with you today.

As you think about the push against pet stores who sell puppies from puppy mills, I want you to keep in mind where the real high-volume sales are occurring these days. It’s not in a bricks and mortar mom-and-pop pet shops, but online, where puppy millers are NOT subject to USDA inspection.

So let’s get to it. So what were the nine online sites included in the IFAW study?

Six high-volume puppy sale sites:

  • Animaroo – based out of Missouri, that has over 300,000 monthly visitors
  • DogsNow – a California-based business that is a service of EquineNow.com
  • NextDayPets* – a Maryland-based business that has over 3,000,000 (3 million) visitors per month
  • PuppyFind* – based out of Arizona and has over 300,000 visitors per day
  • PuppyTrader – based out of Pennsylvania and serves U.S. and Canadian visitors
  • Terrific Pets – a North Carolina based business and operates as a platform for buyers and sellars

*These two websites are being used by a Wisconsin-based “animal shelter” to sell the puppies they are breeding to “raise money for their no-kill shelter”. I wrote about it last week.

And, three general buyer-seller platforms engaged in puppy sales:

  • Craigslist – A California-based business that operates as a free online version of a newspaper classified ads
  • eBay Classifieds – a subsidiary of eBay based out of California and operates as an online classifieds platform
  • Oodle – a California-based business that provides a “friendly local marketplace to buy, sell and trade”

Keep in mind that these are only the nine high-volume sites. There are many other medium or small sites in existence today that were not included, and more are being created every day.

IFAW referenced an HSUS three-month study into a “single online seller who advertised puppy mill dogs on nearly 800 Web domains designed to appear like local breeders selling online.” The online puppy sale industry is big bucks and puppy mills are in the thick of it.

On this one day, Wednesday, July 18, 2012, IFAW pulled a percentage of ads from these sites and analyzed them based on a pre-defined set of criteria (see page 5 pf the report for the criteria list).

Here is a summary of their findings revealed the following results (based on that one day):

Percentage of ads that came from “likely puppy mills”

Projected number of puppies advertised per site on day of investigation:

Are you shocked yet? I was too when I first read the report. I thought I had a pretty good idea of the number of puppy mills turning to online sales. I had no idea.

Now I know why so many Minnesota large-scale breeders have chosen to let their USDA licenses to lapse. Now I know why so many are turning to selling their puppies online. It’s big business. It’s money-making business. It’s also unregulated – no inspections, no criminal violations, no worries. Going online offers puppy mills all the secrecy they desire with no repercussions. Scary huh?
Puppy mill kennels

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