Chief executive Allan Perrins said there had been reports of people selling puppies on Gumtree, OLX and even on Facebook.
While it is legal to sell pets online, it is illegal to sell pets with docked tails or cropped ears, he said. “This (practice) is seen as animal mutilation, which is an offence under the Animals Protection Act.”
Perrins speculated that these mutilations are unlikely to be performed under anaesthetic.
“It is also illegal to backyard breed, which is the source of most of these puppies.”
However, Perrins admitted it is difficult to police the sale of animals online. “We depend on the public to be our eyes and ears. We receive reports from concerned members of the public. We regularly and proactively scan popular websites such as Gumtree and OLX.”
On Wednesday, the SPCA received a report about two people selling two-week-old pitbull puppies on Facebook.“Two weeks old is far too young,” said Perrins. “The seller and buyer are both placing the puppies at risk of possible death, which may constitute a transgression of the law.”
Puppies normally cannot be separated from their mothers until they are at least eight weeks old.