A 2019 investigation revealed that when people list dogs for free on Gumtree, a classifieds website similar to Craigslist, dog fighting rings often grab them up and use them for their nefarious blood sport. The dogs are then given one of two lives: as fighting dogs, who will be abused, starved, neglected, and thus primed for aggression and fighting; or as bait dogs, who have their mouths duct taped shut or teeth punched out so that they cannot fight back as fighting dogs are forced to practice mutilation on them.
This cruel practice is outlawed most places, but enforcement is spotty. The basis of stopping dog fighting should be in halting the supply of innocent pups into these environments — if dog fighting rings can’t get their hands on dogs and stop pulling a profit, the people behind the cruel sport will lose interest. No matter the intention, giving away a dog to a stranger on the internet is simply too risky. There are always shelters and animal welfare organizations willing to help rehome these precious lives! Sign the petition if you want to ask Gumtree to quit allowing for free dog posts to be hosted on their site. And remember, if you see a dog listed for free on any site, you should flag it!