With increased demand for pets during lockdown, pet related crime and ‘petfishing’, where prospective buyers are defrauded via fake pet ads, sadly also flourished. The Friday-Ad is part of the Animal Welfare Alliance, and works with a number of industry stakeholders, charities and enforcement agencies to help protect animals and buyers.
As part of the Animal Welfare Alliance, the Friday-Ad has helped to create an easy to follow checklist with advice on how to buy cats and dogs online safely…

Here is our advice on how to buy cats and dogs online safely:

1. Be Picky
Choose a trusted local breeder or pet marketplace.
Read descriptions carefully, contact the seller and ask lots of questions.
2. Mum & Home
If it’s a young animal (less than 6 months old), by law you MUST see them with their mum. Be sure to see them interact.
We also always recommend that you see an animal in their home. Check for signs of it being a genuine, lived-in home, and don’t meet sellers outside of the home.
3. Minimum Age
To be sold and separated from their mum, by law puppies MUST be at least 8 weeks old and microchipped. Kittens should be at least 9 weeks old before leaving mum, and should be microchipped from around 12 weeks old.
4.Health Check
Does the animal look healthy and alert, does it have a shiny coat? Ask to see and check the vaccination record. Call the listed vet to verify the vaccination record and if possible the breeder/seller too.
5. Head over Heart
Don’t buy a pet on emotion. Fraudsters will tug on your heart strings to get you to make a purchase against your better judgement.
You may even feel compelled to “save” an animal from an unsuitable environment, but by doing so you likely condemn many more to the same fate.
If you come across illegal, fraudulent or unscrupulous sellers – report them, don’t support them!
6. Payment & Paperwork
Never send a deposit for an animal you haven’t seen!
Ask and be prepared to sign a formal contract with the seller. You can find useful information and download a template contract at puppycontract.org.uk.
Only use safe payment methods, to avoid getting stung.
If any of the above give you cause for concern, walk away!
For detailed advice on how to buy a pet visit howtobuyapet.org.uk
Useful Resources:

For detailed advice on how to buy a pet visit howtobuyapet.org.uk

How to report a suspicious ad, seller or animal welfare concerns

Find out more about the Animal Welfare Alliance


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