Over the last few months we have been working with the Justice for Reggie campaign, and are proud to be part of the new animal welfare alliance.
We have always had responsible ownership and breeders at the heart of our company, and we look forward to the positive effect on dog welfare and the increased trust this will bring to the wider industry.
The Justice for Reggie campaign was brought to life following the Ackers family’s very personal and traumatic experience with online pet fraud. They bought 12-week old puppy Reggie from an online marketplace during lockdown. Reggie tragically fell ill within hours of them bringing him home and died just days later.
The family later found out that he was likely bred illegally on a puppy farm in Ireland and imported into the UK with fake papers.
Sadly this is just one of many similar stories. According to ActionFraud over £2.6million was lost by prospective pet owners to fake and fraudulent pet adverts in the 2020/21 financial year, up 20% on the previous year. Of course, the real cost to the animals and human victims involved is far greater.
Since their ordeal, Rick and his family have been campaigning tirelessly to affect change in the law and current practices. Their incredible dedication and persistence has brought together key industry stakeholders, including local councils and police forces, animal protection agencies and online marketplaces.
In a very short time Justice for Reggie has achieved what no other body or campaign has managed to achieve before: an alliance including major UK pet advertising sites, working together to share information on suspected illegal sellers across their sites and with enforcement agencies.
The aim of the alliance is to eradicate illegal and fraudulent breeders by collectively blocking their access to major pet advertising sites, removing individual ads from all of the alliance websites, and sharing information about suspicious accounts with enforcement agencies to be investigated centrally.
This revolutionary new approach will limit illegal breeder’s access to potential victims, and make alliance websites safer for prospective buyers.
Vitally, centralising reporting and investigation of suspicious user accounts, will give enforcement agencies more data and allow them to track, investigate and build cases against illegal breeders more effectively.
Alliance members include:
PETS4HOMES (pets4homes.co.uk), PRELOVED (preloved.co.uk), THE FRIDAY-AD (friday-ad.co.uk), DOGS AND PUPPIES (dogsandpuppies.co.uk), PUPPIES.CO.UK, PUPPYCHOICES.CO.UK, ANIMALL24 (animall24.com), ANIMAL PROTECTION SERVICES (animalprotectionservices.org), JUSTICE FOR REGGIE (justiceforreggie.co.uk)
To educate buyers and prevent them experiencing a similar traumatic experience to that of Rick and his family, the alliance members have created an easy to follow checklist, which will be displayed on all alliance websites, with tips on how to safely buy pets online and links to further information and resources.
They will also display information on how to report animal welfare concerns, suspicious ads and sellers, including links to a confidential reporting form which automatically sends the information to Animal Protection Services to investigate and alert alliance members, enabling them to remove any related ads from their websites.
“We are keen to raise public awareness and will be working on more campaigns to tackle animal welfare issues. We encourage buyers to use our alliance marketplace sites to buy pets online safely and responsibly, and also encourage the public to use Animal Protection Services to report any animal welfare concerns. Report it, don’t support it!”
“I would like to thank all of the alliance members for all their work and input. I genuinely thought this would never happen, but the will of everyone involved has been truly amazing. I have been impressed by how open and determined all of our alliance partners have been to make this change and work together.”
“I am confident that the Animal Welfare Alliance will save countless animals from suffering and many buyers from the guilt and heartache my family has experienced. We now have to push forward and ensure that ALL UK pet marketplace sites join our alliance, and that our new way of working becomes standard practice across the board.” Richard Ackers, THE JUSTICE FOR REGGIE CAMPAIGN