That pot Kenny show on Newstalk. Buying a pet is a serious commitment, but with foreign holidays cancelled on working from home set to continue for the foreseeable, it might seem like the perfect time to recruit a new member to the family.
But why then, would that increase in demand?
Has the popular side done deal suspended their dog ads? And how can you make sure that you're buying from a reputable source? Bedwetter and the vet joins me now to help guide us through all of this.
Pete, good morning. Good morning, passably.
Now, the Internet has become a huge part of our lives, and particularly in the last few months, people are buying everything online. What about the sale of animals online that's been growing apace as well?
It has, indeed. And what happened early this year in the first of February 2020 was that new regulations were brought in on the sale of pet animals. And what that meant, that that's put a whole new bunch of obligations on people. So if you sell more than six, six or more animals a year now, you have to register with the Department of Agriculture and you have to display your registration number on every advert. And that's in addition to the regular regulations that control puppy registered puppy farmers who also have to display their registration number.
And as well as that, if you just as an individual are selling an animal online, you have to put on certain details like the age of the animal, the microchip number and the country of origin, all of these things. So there is much more regulation now on the sale of pets. But the complicated thing here is that at the moment it's the obligation of the seller, not on the website. So at the moment, the website has no legal responsibility.
It's entirely up to the seller.
Now, there was an Irish Pet Advisory Advertising Advisory Group IPAC, I suppose you'd say that was formed in 2015, number of animal welfare organisations involved in that and vets and so on. And the idea was to put down guidelines as to how animals might be advertised and therefore sold and they had the best interests of the animals at heart.
That's correct, because the idea was to try to get compliance, to ask websites to join Republicans, get their compliance on making sure that advertising was done legally. So if any illegal adverts were spotted, they'd be they'd be removed. And also encouraging other aspects as well, such as working with charities in different ways, basically altogether just to improve the welfare of animals when advertising pets for sale. But there were some particular issues that started to come up, such as people, such as people putting in website microchip numbers that didn't exist or that were duplicates.
And so these these began to be quite big problems. And also there were instances of stolen animals that were advertised. So so the point was the system was was was needing to be somehow regulations better. And so what's beginning to happen now is that there's beginning to be automated checking so that if an animal has a microchip number that is posted with the animal, that can be immediately by algorithms behind the scenes, double to the databases to make sure that it is actually a valid microchip number for that particular description of animal.
So that's what's been happening behind the scenes. And responsible websites are making sure that that they have those it's still voluntary, but the responsible websites are making sure that they have those things in place before they actually agree to to advertise animals.
And the real concern here, you see the concern of IPAC is that there are it's impossible to ban advertising of animals online because there are websites all over the world that could just decide we're going to advertise Irish pets and there's no way that could be regulated or there could be agreement with those websites from Ireland. So that's why IPAC aims to actually work with with Irish based conventional type sales websites to make sure that they're complying and that therefore that we all have control of what's going on in Pakistan.
So done deal when they suspended the advertising of dogs on their website, it was pending the technology, you know, being made available that would allow them to be compliant because, you know, they can't be forced to be compliant as yet under the February air regulations.
But they want to be.
Yes. And the hope is the hope is that at the moment there's a new EU digital services directive which is being consulted on just now. And the hope is that there will be actually a change in law that will make it all online platforms responsible for what they allow to be posted. That would be great because that was sort out all the all the all the renegade websites around the world, if that could be done. But at the moment, it is voluntary and and and therefore, you know, we depend on the goodwill of websites to make.
So if they're selling pets, that they do make sure that people comply. I have to say there've been a number of of incidents where where animals have been identified online as being sold to certain illegal aspects such as ducktails or crocked years. And the ASPCA has been able on foot of information from the adverse to take prosecutions. But it's very, very difficult, as you can imagine, when this when there's, let's say, hundreds of people advertising with microchips on vanload is just about impossible to track them all down and prosecute them all.
So it has been a big issue. An automated system of checking microchips is definitely the way forward.
Now, the fact is that poppy farmers will use websites, people will sell sick animals and people will sell stolen animals, which has been in the news a lot. Why do you think there's been such a surge in the number of dogs which have been stolen?
Well, you know what? That's actually a little bit of an urban myth at the moment. In twenty eighteen one hundred and forty five dogs are reported stolen. 2019 went up to 210 dogs. And this year so far, there's been 120 dogs called stolen. If that carries on the same level that only 205 dogs by the end of this year, which is actually a bit less than last year, it still is around about four dogs a week. So I'm not trying to dismiss it as a risk.
Onus should be very aware of the value of their own pets. Treat your pet like an expensive camera or a wallet full of cash and, you know, keep it under observation. Don't walk around in your garden. If there's a low wall to the street below you, you know, keep them like a valuable object and also make sure you take obvious security steps, make sure your pet is microchips. And indeed, that microchip is properly registered on a on a reputable database.
If you take those steps, the risk of theft and your dog not being returned to you is significantly reduced.
Pete Wedderburn, Pete the vet, thank you very much for joining us now.