Due to these regulations, advertisers have to pay for placing an ad, so that data of sellers is known to the platform. The Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA), which carries out the check, can request these at will.
“We carry out risk-oriented supervision,” says a spokesperson for the NVWA. “That means that we carry out inspections where we consider violations to be major. Because we cannot check all traders and breeders, we also call on people who want to buy a dog to pay close attention themselves.”
Marktplaats says it has been in talks with House of Animals. “But we differ on the approach. We consult with animal rights organizations and want to improve information for users.”
‘Don’t take it too closely’
What makes control difficult is that a large part of the pet trade takes place out of sight. Officially, puppies must be at least 15 weeks old, vaccinated and registered with a European tracking system. “But we know that this does not always happen in practice,” says Piko Fieggen of the Animal Protection Service. “Open borders make control difficult and we know that veterinarians abroad are not always too careful with vaccinations.”
As a result, some dog diseases are on the rise. A spokesperson for veterinary chain AniCura: “Animals from abroad have been bred, not vaccinated or not properly vaccinated and dewormed and therefore bring all kinds of diseases with them to the Netherlands.”
‘Distraction and cuddling’
Some of the impulse purchases end up in shelters or they are – with a holiday in prospect – dumped in nature. Director of Sofia-Vereeniging Steffie van Horck: “People wanted distraction and cuddling during corona, but did not think about what a pet means in the long term. The consequences of this can be seen in the shelters and shelters.”
Not everywhere though. For example, the Animal Protection sees no increase in the number of dogs and cats in their shelters, only a doubling in the number of rabbits, probably due to holidays that are difficult to plan.
But Dierenopvang Amsterdam, the largest in the Netherlands, is busy. “We have stopped new registrations, we are completely full,” says an employee. “The dogs we have had since corona are busy and require more guidance and supervision.”
No more puppies
The Animal Protection is also concerned about corona puppies. Fieggen: “The dogs that grew up during corona are not used to busy streets or people stroking, while socialization is very important for dogs. If it gets busier, it can lead to problems.”
Dog trainers were not allowed to open for months, so the puppies that needed training are no longer puppies. Van Horck says that the behavioral problems are most visible in dogs. According to her, the rest is less visible, because those animals stay behind the front door and problematic behavior is not always recognized.
“The threshold for a pet is far too low,” says Van Horck. “One click and you have an animal. The rules for buying and selling animals must be much stricter. When everyone goes back to school and work, I will hold my breath.”
Dumped, unvaccinated and behavioral problems: ‘The threshold for a pet is too low’
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