Minimum Standards

Minimum Standards


PAAG has created the Minimum Standards as a guideline for classified advertising websites to help them identify bad and/or poor adverts.

Websites must:

Label each advert clearly as to whether it is a private sale, commercial sale or from a rescue/rehoming centre

Run automated checks for ‘blacklisted’ words/terms, including for banned breeds and prohibited species

Filter for other misleading, inappropriate and illegal adverts and take any adverts found or notified down within 12 working hours

Monitor for multiple mobile/telephone numbers and email addresses in private sales and investigate and potentially ban frequent/repeat vendors if they are unable to provide evidence of a Local Authority licence. ‘Frequent’ is defined as the same vendor offering a third different animal (except fish) for sale in a twelve-month period

Permanently ban vendors who attempt to post illegal adverts (on three strikes and out basis)

Not include adverts for farmed animals

Ban adverts of live vertebrate animals as food

Ban adverts offering pregnant animals for sale

Ban adverts offering stud animals, animals in season or animals ‘for rent’ or ‘loan’ in pet section. Note that adverts offering horses or donkeys for loan are acceptable

Remove adverts specifying that the animal is to be used for working, hunting or guarding from the pet section

Cross reference adverts for dogs that have been tail docked with those breeds exempted in England, Scotland and Wales. Remove any adverts for breeds that are advertised as docked but are not an exempted breed, and those exempted breeds that have not been legally docked by a vet

Ban adverts for dogs that have been ear cropped

Ensure that no pets are advertised for swapping with other pets, services or goods

Ensure that species scheduled by the Dangerous Wild Animals Act are clearly marked as such and make clear to vendors that it is an offence to offer a species covered by EU Wildlife Trade Regulations Annex A and listed by CITES for sale without a valid Article 10 Certificate. Non-human primates should not be offered for sale

Exclude any advert where there is a reasonable concern for the health and welfare of the animal involved

Ensure that no live vertebrates are advertised for sale as deliverable through the postal system, national or international

Ensure that all dog adverts state the animal is microchipped. It is a legal requirement for all dogs over 8 weeks of age to be microchipped and registered to their breeder

Ensure that every view item page includes prominent links to PAAG advice on buying and selling an animal

Ensure that every view item page includes prominent links to PAAG approved care information on feeding, housing, handling, husbandry, life expectancy, provision of suitable accessories and veterinary care for the animal being advertised

Provide a clearly visible function for purchasers to report illegal, misleading or inappropriate adverts

Require all vendors to include information relating to the species name (and breed as relevant) and, except for fish, the sex of the animal(s)

Require all vendors to include a recent photograph of the animal(s) they are advertising (except for fish) and monitor for suspicious usage of images

Require all vendors to display the age of the animal(s) they are advertising (except for fish). No animal should be advertised for transfer to a new owner before it is weaned and no longer dependent on its parents

Require all vendors to state the country of residence from which the animal is being sold

Require all commercial vendors to provide Local Authority licence information when submitting an advertisement

Provide advice and support that encourages responsible rehoming to any sellers offering an animal as ‘free to a good home’

Require all breeders to include a recognisable photo of young animals with their mother (This applies to dogs, cats, rabbit, ferrets and chinchillas)

Need to report a pet that's ill?

Whilst looking at online pet adverts, perhaps in search of a new addition to your family, or merely out of interest, if you come across an advert that concerns you, we urge you to report it! Reporting concerning adverts is a crucial step in cracking down on unscrupulous breeders and dealers.