Scottish SPCA and Airbnb join forces to tackle fraudulent puppy dealers

The Scottish SPCA and Airbnb have joined forces to tackle the low-welfare puppy trade. Airbnb will work closely with the SPCA and support its investigations by sharing data where an Airbnb reservation is involved.

Airbnb is the first home sharing platform to partner with the SPCA and whilst issues involving Airbnb bookings are rare, the platform is leading the way on supporting the SPCA’s vital work.

Airbnb will also support Operation Delphin, a multi-agency taskforce designed to work together to bring illegal puppy traders to justice. The operation is being spearheaded by the special investigation unit at the Scottish SPCA and includes Dumfries & Galloway Council, ISPCA, RSPCA, USPCA, DSPCA, Stena Line, Police Scotland and others. 

The partnership comes as the UK lockdown has caused an increase in demand for puppies, resulting in illicit breeders capitalising on the demand and comprising the welfare of animals that they are breeding.

A special investigations unit inspector at the SPCA, who cannot be named due to undercover work, said: “Puppies and their parents are suffering and dying due to this industry. As long as this is happening, we will do what we can to bring down this appalling trade. Public demand remains sky high and as long as this continues, bad dealers will find any means to operate. We are very pleased to have the support of Airbnb who are just as dedicated to tackling this issue as we are.”

Patrick Robinson, Director of Public Policy at Airbnb, said, “We thank the Scottish SPCA for their vital investigative work on this issue. We want to ensure justice is served and welcome the opportunity to support the SPCA on their investigations. The vast majority of Hosts and guests are good neighbours who follow the rules, and we take swift and robust action against anyone who doesn’t live up to the standards that communities expect.”

Anyone with potential concerns about a property they believe to be listed on Airbnb can report this through the company’s Neighbour Support Line. Neighbours can visit to request a call from a specialised support agent, who will aim to give them a call back in 10 minutes or less. 

Airbnb is committed to animal welfare and was the first major booking platform to bring in industry-leading, progressive animal welfare policies, created in partnership with World Animal Protection. 

Any concerns over the low-welfare puppy trade should be reported to the Scottish SPCA confidential animal helpline on 03000 999 999.