Pets Online, a Note from Used.ca
In light of recent press regarding pets on online classifieds sites, Used.ca would like to address the queries and comments that have come our way.
We are so appreciative to have users that are genuinely concerned with the welfare of animals, just like we are, and we are proud to be given the chance to talk about how we take measures to prevent the maltreatment of animals in all of our communities. Together, we can help fight puppy mills and pet over population at the source – if you see any listings on our sites that you feel are inappropriate, please use the “report this ad” button and our Moderation Team will investigate the ad and take action if necessary.
In the spirit of transparency, below we have copied a message from our Director of Marketing, that she recently sent to a concerned person:
At Used.ca, we pride ourselves on being different from other online classified sites. Here we have a real live Moderation Team that monitors our sites 24/7. Our head office is in Victoria, but we have staff across the country in different time zones, so that we can catch and respond to inappropriate ads as quickly as possible. We use numerous techniques to protect our sites from inappropriate content, especially puppy mills, irresponsible backyard operations and non-recognised rescue groups.
Used.ca is absolutely against puppy mills and the unethical treatment of animals. We believe we’re leaders in maintaining a family-friendly online environment that discourages scammers, spam emails, adult content and puppy mills. Our site provides a voice for many reputable rescue societies and animals in need of a caring forever home. We are very active in all of our communities and this includes building relationships with societies aiming to discourage the mistreatment of animals.
Here are just some of the ways we moderate our site:
- Keyword filters are set up so that when someone uses a “trigger” word in their ad, the ad is automatically held until it can be reviewed to ensure it’s legitimate
- We monitor the site for stock photography of animals or listings that contain multiple animals per ad
- We look for people posting multiple ads
- Our users are very proud of our community built sites and our users will report any ads that seems suspicious (all ad listing have a “report this ad” button on them)
- We know the animal rescue operations that use our sites and build relationships with them
- We actively monitor and check on animal ads, especially ones that are listed for free
What do we do when we’re suspicious of an ad?
- We pull the ad down immediately
- We attempt to make contact with the ad poster to determine the true nature of the ad
- We may inform the police or animal rescue partners if necessary (we’ve been a key player in many rescues)
- We may ban the user/API from our sites
We help promote best practices for adopting a pet and we work with groups like the Just Love Animals Society in Victoria. Most recently we sponsored Pet-a-Palooza: their goal is to stop puppy mills and we created this education piece with their assistance.
We also include guidelines around best practices at the top of our pet categories.
On a more personal note, I’ve rescued a beagle and most recently a cat from postings I found on UsedVictoria.com. Both of the owners were in horrible situations and loved their pets very much, but they chose our site because they wanted to meet the person adopting their animals to know their pets would be well cared for. I keep in touch with my cat’s previous owner and send her pictures. I wish they didn’t that feel finding new homes for their pets was the only option, but I’m really glad I was able to give both Randi and MoJo a new loving home.
If you have further suggestions or ideas we welcome you to share them with us. We always have open ears for those users who genuinely care as much as we do. If you ever pay us a visit, you will be sure to meet some of the biggest animal lovers in the city. This is part of what motivates us to a higher level of moderation than our competitors.
Please send us your comments and questions by emailing Used.ca.