Calls to Gumtree to stop advertisements for free pets at Christmas are being ignored by the online marketplace, despite being made aware that free pets are often abandoned in the New Year.

In previous years, more than 300 unwanted pets in Sydney alone were abandoned to the RSPCA in the days following Christmas. The organisation has said that abandoning of animals is a big problem after Christmas. With online marketplaces like Gumtree allowing free animal ads, people may unknowingly hand these pets to animal abusers – and that’s terrifying for animal lovers like Casey Kemp.

Victorian-based petition starter, Casey Kemp, initially started her Change.org petition to stop Gumtree advertising free dogs because many underground dog fighting rings scour these sites for free animals to either use as fighting dogs or live bait. Her petition has already been signed by 190,000 people, making it one of the biggest petitions for Change.org Australia in 2019.

Casey is now calling on Gumtree to urgently stop the ads in the lead up to Christmas.

“Despite Gumtree knowing about this issue and promising to review their policy, they still haven’t removed free animal advertisements,” said Casey.

“With Gumtree offering families the opportunity to give these pets away for free, without proper scrutiny, we are terrified that innocent animals will be handed over to abusers this Christmas season.“

Last week, when Casey urged petition signers to take to Gumtree’s social media with their concerns, the business responded by deleting the posts without any form of response.