Increasingly, Australians are turning to the internet to start the search for their new family pet. But there can be risks if these animals aren’t well cared for, or if consumers are misled by breeders and aren’t getting the new pet they’re expecting.
This is an area of great concern for the RSPCA’s supporters. The community expects websites that allow the online advertising of pets to actively protect the welfare of these animals, and make sure they’re not supporting poor animal welfare practices (like puppy farms).
Each state and territory has basic legal obligations for the online sale of pets, that retailers must meet – but often, these basic legal requirements do not go far enough.
What needs to change
The RSPCA believes a pet should never be bought or sold (sight-unseen) online.
Where platforms allow advertising of pets, the RSPCA and the wider community believes they have a responsibility to ensure they are not supporting unethical activities.
That’s why the RSPCA has developed our own Guidelines for The Online Advertising of Pets to help websites develop good policies that protect animals and improve consumer trust.
While some major classifieds sites, such as Gumtree, meet some of these Guidelines, so far only one Australian site that sells pets meets all of the Guidelines. If you know of a website that you believe should adopt the RSPCA’s Guidelines, you can email them using our prepared text below.
Help protect pets online. We need websites that allow the advertising of pets to step up and protect their welfare, and proactively enforce their existing policies where relevant.
Use our template below to email Gumtree and Trading Post, and ask them to adopt the RSPCA’s Guidelines today. To make your email as effective as possible add your own introduction to the text we have provided. Report ads on social media
If you see something, say something – if you see inappropriate ads for pets on Facebook or Instagram, report it to the site and comment on the post with the hashtag #SafePetsOnline to let us know. Tell us your story
Have you had a near miss or bad experience buying a pet online? We want to hear from you, so that we can help others avoid the same heartache. Email us with your story to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Use the form below to send an email to Gumtree and Trading Post, asking them to adopt the RSPCA’s Guidelines for the Online Advertising of Pets. If you use another website, and want them to know about our Guidelines, let us know about them, so we can add their details to this page