Looking for a puppy in Vancouver? You won’t find one on the popular classified website Buy, Sell & Trade: the company has taken down its entire pet sales page after noticing an increase in “suspicious” ads as it transitioned from its print edition, which has been a mainstay on the island since 1976, to a new online platform.

The British Colombia SPCA has applauded the move, calling it a “giant leap forward” in the fight against puppy mills and other unscrupulous animal breeders who rely on anonymous websites to sell their animals.

Buy, Sell & Trade’s decision to jettison all online puppy ads might seem extreme, but Lorie Chortyk, general manager of community relations for the local SPCA, said it’s the only way, given that it’s often impossible to distinguish between responsible sellers and illegitimate puppy factories. She stressed that, in any case, “pets are not a commodity” but rather a lifelong commitment, so buying from a known source is the best bet.

Reluctant to risk losing profits, other classified sites in the Vancouver area have not followed suit, despite requests from the SPCA. Chortyk lauded Buy, Sell & Trade. “It’s great they’re taking a stand and a leadership role.”

The Buy, Sell & Trade website will continue to include postings for pet adoptions from the SPCA.

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