AN abandoned dog whose plight tugged on heartstrings around the world is at the centre of a new PETA campaign to stop people selling pets online.
Kai the Shar Pei became a global sensation last week after he was tied up and left at Ayr railway station with all his belongings in a suitcase after an arranged sale through internet classified ads site Gumtree went wrong.
Kai is now the star of a new PETA advert encouraging potential pet owners to be responsible and adopt animals rather than buy them online, where they can be often be victims of abuse or theft.
The ad, which uses the instantly recognisable photo of the pooch tied up next to a suitcase of his belongings, reads, “I’m Kai. I was bought and sold on Gumtree and ended up homeless”.
PETA director Mimi Bekhechi said: “When people buy a dog off the Internet, they’re not only funding breeding but also robbing a homeless animal of his or her chance at adoption.
“Unlike animal shelters, breeders don’t screen their buyers or perform home checks, so there’s no way to ensure that the animals are going to good homes or that the new guardians receive an animal companion who’s suitable to their household.”
Kai became an Internet sensation after his tale emerged last week.
Fin Rayner, 39, arranged to buy the dog after her nine-year-old daughter spotted an advert for a Shar Pei on the Internet.
But when she arrived at the station to meet the owner, she said she soon realised that she had been duped because it was not the same animal that had been advertised online.
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PETA is now urging Gumtree to enact a policy banning advertisements from breeders to prevent animals from ending up in the hands of negligent or abusive people.
The animal rights group wants people to use local shelters instead to find a new companion.
Last week Miss Rayner, of Newmachar, in Aberdeenshire, said she panicked when the dog owner fled the scene and left her with his pet at the railway station on Friday night.
The mother-of-three said: “We had been messaging back and forward for a couple of days about the dog. He was supposed to be a one-year-old and his name was Pluto.
“He said he was totally trained and he had KC papers as well so we thought we were getting a full breed.”
Miss Rayner had agreed to buy a new pet for her daughter Rhiannon Strachan, 9, who had been looking at pet sale adverts online.
She became suspicious when the dog owner - who was wearing a hi-viz jacket and black jeans - said he was in a hurry and wasn’t keen for her to take the Shar Pei for a walk to check him over.
He asked her to give him a deposit so she handed over 150 pounds then walked towards the station door.
She said: “Before I got to the door, I looked back and he was gone - he had disappeared in his car.
“I got into the station and the dog wasn’t settling. He was pulling on the lead and peeing everywhere.
“I thought that it wasn’t my dog - I didn’t want him.”
Miss Rayner had a train to catch and panicked when her son Owen warned his mother that the dog could have been stolen.
She ended up tying Kai up and leaving him at the station.
Miss Rayner, who was left distraught from the incident, said she agreed that dogs shouldn’t be sold on Gumtree.
Kai has been inundated with offers of a new home from as far as the US since his story came to light.
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