Friday-Ad (part of the Friday Media Group) is cracking down on pet crime and unscrupulous sellers with our unprecedented ‘Animal Welfare Alliance’. Rick Ackers, founder of the Justice for Reggie campaign quoted “Credit to the Friday Media Group for taking the lead on this. It means a lot to me, but most of all will go a long way in hopefully saving animals.”
About the campaign…
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. They later found out that he had been illegally bred 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 audeal, 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:
PETS 4 HOMES (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), PET ADVERTISING ADVISORY GROUP (paag.org.uk), 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 available on PAAG’s website.
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.
“This has been no small task. We have had countless meetings and conversations, but we’ve been pleasantly surprised by the recognition and willingness of all those involved to work together to safeguard all animals sold online, as well as the purchasers.
We are delighted to have come this far and to be able to launch this alliance with the support of major UK pet advertising sites. It demonstrates their commitment to promoting animal welfare by working with their competitors and putting pets before profit.” Richard Ackers, THE JUSTICE FOR REGGIE CAMPAIGN
“We’re delighted to be founding members of this alliance. It demonstrates our universal commitment to animal welfare, and marks a real step change in our industry. Working together, we will be able to crack down on illegal sellers more effectively, and help to protect animals and buyers.” Tinka Carrick, THE FRIDAY-AD and DOGS AND PUPPIES
“Animal Protection Services is pleased that these classified websites have agreed to put animal welfare above profit. This is a true partnership where we will be able to investigate unscrupulous individuals and bring them to justice.” ANIMAL PROTECTION SERVICES
“We have witnessed a massive increase in the number of animals advertised for sale online. The ease and popularity of the internet means that impulse buying of pets has become an appealing option, with people able to search and find an animal for sale at the click of a button. However, the lure of quick, unregulated sales also attracts many unscrupulous breeders and dealers to websites. We hope that this alliance and our continuing work with UK marketplace websites will help to raise industry standards and help to protect animals and buyers.” PAAG
The alliance hopes to transform the online pet advertising sector, making animal welfare and buyer protection a priority. More potential partners are already lined up and more resources to help protect buyers are being developed. The newly formed alliance will constantly adapt and respond to the sector’s changing needs and challenges.
“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.”
“With the Animal Welfare Alliance in place, I am confident that we 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
Welfare alliance in the news!