Thursday, January 26, 2012

Kijiji puts puppy mills on notice: "We can find you no matter what"

Kijiji says it's working to make life more difficult for parking lot puppy vendors.

Kijiji's background tools filter out the obvious offenders, but it often comes down to users to police the 'pets' section of the online classifieds.

Animal activists are angrily vocal about the trade in companion animals in general, and tend to target sites like Kijiji because they enable sellers to meet buyers, and sometimes those sellers run puppy mills. Some buyers end up complaining to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

"We have a great working relationship with (the SPCA). They let us know if anything comes up that we need to be aware of that may involve Kijiji," said Kijiji's Shawn McIntyre in an interview with the Halifax Chronicle Herald.

The article tells the story of a woman who answered a Kijiji ad for a bichone frise puppy, and ended up in disturbing negotiations with a woman notorious for puppy-mill operations resulting in criminal convictions. She wanted to ship the puppy and have the buyer pay by Western Union, hallmarks of a scam. In this case, it could've been more nasty than wire fraud.

"We do have a code of conduct on our website when it comes to the pets category that clearly outlines what we consider to be an unethical pet reseller," said McIntyre in the Herald interview. "We filter (ads) to look for things that may sort of indicate that an ad is too good to be true. If an animal is drastically under-priced or doesn’t have a lot of information, we will ask questions and we expect our users to do the same. We want our users to provide as much information as possible and use clear images of where the animals are kept so that when users view these ads on Kijiji they can make a decision based on that."

Be aware of Kijiji's pet policies:
  • The Animal Pedigree Act makes it a federal offense to sell an animal of a recognized breed as, purebred, registered, or eligible to be registered if it is not.
  • The term “purebred” is a confirmation of genetic background and adherence to breed characteristics, in accordance with the requirements of the Act and the by-laws of the authorized breed association.
  • The term “registered” is confirmation that all the rules of eligibility of the authorized breed association in Canada have been met.
  • If an animal of a recognized breed is sold as purebred, registered or eligible to be registered, the seller is obligated to provide a duly transferred certificate of registration to the buyer not later than six months after the sale.
  • Kijiji does not permit any type of Breeding service (such as stud services)

If you're a rabid animal lover (not a lover of rabid animals, nor an animal lover with rabies), familiarize yourself with Kijiji's specific rules about pets, backyard breeders, puppy mills and so on, and flag offending ads so staff can clean them up. It's not an issue I personally pay much attention to, but it's a "pet peeve" for some. Enough puns. Just go out there and stop people from sucking.

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