Everyone loves a puppy – but you won’t find any for sale on Geebo.

It’s not that we don’t love puppies. It’s because we love puppies, kittens and other animals that we won’t allow animals to be sold on our site. You see, we learned years ago about puppy mills, the commercial breeders that sometimes put profits over the welfare of the animals themselves, and made a decision that we would not provide a marketplace platform for these breeders.

Now, a report released by the International Fund for Animal Welfare, finds that the majority of the puppies advertised for sale over the Internet are from commercial puppy mills where dogs are raised in unsanitary conditions without adequate food or water or even veterinary care.

The organization tracked ads on a number of online sites and found that, among the hundreds of thousands of ads on those sites, the vast majority of animals were from mills. The group looked at a number of factors, including pups under eight weeks old being offered for sale, more than 20 puppies being advertised in a single post or the use of sale slogans such as “Christmas Pets.” In some instances, as many as 62 percent were believed to be from puppy mills.

Certainly, we aren’t looking for validation for our business decisions in this report. But it’s a telling tale of what’s happening in the classifieds industry, all for the sake of money made from those advertisements. The report reads, in part:

Dogs are not just another commodity to be purchased from an anonymous seller online. They are living, breathing, thinking creatures that can experience happiness and suffering. And the Internet is unfortunately a platform ripe for exploiting these animals. Remember that each click to purchase a dog over the Internet could be building incentive for a puppy mill breeder to continue their operations.

Geebo is already known for taking strong stances around the types of ads we accept. We’ve called on other sites to follow our lead in taking steps to stop online human trafficking by refusing to accept personals ads. We consider this issue around the sale of puppies to be just as important.

I realize that it’s unusual – or even unwise, from a business perspective – for the operator of a classified advertising site to refuse so many types of ads that could prove lucrative for the company. But I didn’t start Geebo to become a forum for the transactions of the underworld, a marketplace for any living creature, whether an immigrant forced into the world of slave labor or prostitution or a harmless pup who may someday bring joy to an animal lover – but is forced to live in cruel conditions until that day comes.

If that means I lose business over my moral values, then so be it.