In a win for animal shelters and dogs in general, puppy mill ads on Facebook are being pulled.
Oodle Classifieds, the company that powers the marketplace section of Facebook, has agreed to stop allowing ads on the popular social-networking site from people who breed dogs and sell them over the Internet, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).
Many puppies sold online come from breeders that keep dogs caged in unsanitary, overcrowded, and often cruel conditions without adequate veterinary care, food, water or socialization. Puppy mills that sell directly to people are exempt from any federal oversight, allowing unregulated breeders to sell tens of thousands of dogs a year over the Internet. Many of the dogs are unhealthy and hundreds of complaints are filed every year from people who were scammed and misled by online ads, the ASPCA says.
"Removing an online platform for the cruel puppy mill industry sets a positive example of corporate citizenship and will help improve the lives of countless dogs," says ASPCA President and CEO Ed Sayres. "Most consumers are unaware they are perpetuating animal cruelty by purchasing a puppy online, and given the visibility of Marketplace on Facebook, this move has the potential to raise critical awareness about unscrupulous online breeders."
Because many pet stores buy animals from puppy mills, the ASPCA encourages people to adopt pets from shelters where an estimated 3 to 4 million dogs and cats are euthanized in the U.S. each year because they don't have homes. (That's 60 percent of shelter dogs and 70 percent of cats.)
The news comes just in time for National Puppy Day.
Oodle representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment and a Facebook spokesman said the company had no comment.