27 Investigates: Activists say Facebook fuels overbreeding of dogs

Backyard breeders who sell dogs on Facebook are the reason the Mahoning County Dog Pound thinks it's overpopulated with dogs

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) –  Overbreeding dogs is causing local pounds to fill up to the max and animal rights activists say social media sites might be to blame.

Selling animals on Facebook is illegal — it says so right in the website’s commerce policy. But activists say the social media network has been a gold mine for what they call “backyard breeders.”

They’re people who breed solely for profit or don’t know what else to do when their dog isn’t spayed or neutered and gets pregnant.

“They’re not screening adopters, they’re not spaying or neutering these dogs, they’re not vetting these dogs. They’re just, essentially, either giving them away or they’re selling them,” said Jason Cooke, with Friends of Fido.

Local lost and found animal groups on Facebook have updated their rules to ban selling but a quick search of “dogs for sale” reveals that some local, private groups still exist where animals are sold or given away for free.

“Number one, there’s already too many dogs in this world as it is and the second thing is that these dogs, when they’re bred and given away or sold, they themselves aren’t spayed or neutered,” Cooke said.

Backyard breeders are one reason volunteers with the Mahoning County Dog Pound think it’s overpopulated with dogs.

So they and people from other local animal rescues are forming teams to go through Facebook pages and report the sale posts in an effort to put an end to the overpopulation.

“We reach out to these individuals and we tell them, ‘Look, let us spay or neuter these dogs before you give them away or before you sell them and also, let us spay or neuter the parents,” Cooke said.

They also ask that if you see someone selling animals on Facebook, report it to Facebook and call the dog pound.

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