Decision Maker Response
Matthew McKenzie’s response
Aug 24, 2017 — Dear Barbara,
Thank you for getting in touch.
I want you to know that I did read through your Change.org petition (along with the comments), and when I read the part where you say to me “At least I expected you would write,” I completely agreed: you and your supporters deserve a response.
Let me start by saying that I truly respect your dedication to animal welfare, and the same goes for those who have signed your petition. I really do admire people who are passionate about important issues to the point where they take action and try and bring about positive change. Even if I may disagree with the specific thrust of someone’s argument, I have great respect for anyone who doesn’t just sit around and complain about things, but who actually tries to do something positive. I applaud you and your supporters for that.
That said, I suspect you probably won’t be entirely happy with the overall substance of my response. But as I said, I believe you deserve one - just as I believe I deserve the chance to explain why Kijiji takes the approach we do towards pets for sale listings on our site.
At Kijiji, our goal is simple: to bring together pets with people who want to give them loving homes. We have been able to do that on countless occasions. I can’t tell you how often I hear first-hand, real life stories from people who have found their beloved animal companions on Kijiji, and how much joy has come into their lives as a result. For example, my sister-in-law recently found her dog on Kijiji, and it brings a smile to my face to see how much joy Max brings to her and her four children.
Some of these new pets come from families who find themselves with a litter of puppies or kittens from their own pet dogs or cats. Others are from responsible breeders who maintain high standards of care for their animals, and ensure that their offspring are healthy, properly weaned and well cared for prior to going to their new forever homes.
Kijiji is adamantly opposed to puppy mills or any irresponsible breeding operations. We’re all about bringing happy, healthy pets together with loving people who want to make them part of their family. That’s why we work closely with respected animal welfare organizations across the country, to ensure that our approach accomplishes that goal, while keeping out unscrupulous, puppy mill type breeders.
Any ads posted to Kijiji that reference uncontrolled breeding, aggressive or dominant dogs (including pit bulls), or those with more than three different breeds mentioned in the listing are automatically deleted by our systems, period.
We take this really seriously. We have both automated technology in place (i.e. blocking high-risk IPs) plus dedicated support staff who personally review any questionable ad flagged to us by anyone visiting our site. We maintain close relationships with law enforcement agencies across the country and we cooperate with them in the event that a transaction, in any category on Kijiji, results in problems.
Your petition notes that you have many animal welfare organizations and other stakeholders who are supportive of your call for us to end pet sales. I respect that. I don't want to get into a game of “dueling supporters,” as we have many similar organizations who endorse our view on these issues, but let me just cite this example from the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals:
“We have always been pleased with what Kijiji does to promote responsible pet purchasing and pet safety. Their initiatives help make pet owners selling their animals accountable for the health and safety of the pets and help keep them safe from cruelty.” - OSPCA Chief Inspector Connie Mallory
Quite simply, we don’t want to create a vacuum (by ending for-sale pet ads) which then drives our good buyers and sellers to do business in another online environment where the bad guys have an easy time of plying their trade and perpetuating cruelty. We attract a tremendous amount of traffic to our site, where our dedicated team personally reviews questionable listings flagged to us by our Kijiji users and animal welfare partners. We believe there is strength in numbers for our animal friends.
Further, regarding your call for promoting the free adoption of animals from shelters and rescue organizations on Kijiji, we wholeheartedly support that. We work with partner organizations like Petfinder to help drive adoption listings to our site, and we provide search filters which enable our users to find adoptive/rescue pets as a top priority. We invite animal welfare agencies and shelters to post listings in our pet section for free. We’re proud of that.
I appreciate the opportunity to give you Kijiji’s view. I know how hugely important the well-being of pets is to you, and to those who have signed your petition. I sincerely hope you can appreciate how strongly we feel about these issues, too.
Thanks for getting in touch.
Matthew McKenzie, General Manager