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The RSPCA’s Guidelines for the Online Advertising of Pets

Protect pets online – if you see something, say something!

We all love looking at photos of cute puppies and kittens online!

But when those animals are being listed for sale on websites and social media, who is checking they’re safe and healthy?

The community expects websites that allow the online sale of pets to actively protect the welfare of these animals, and make sure they’re not supporting poor animal welfare practices (like badly-run 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.

That’s why the RSPCA has developed these Guidelines for The Online Advertising of Pets; in response to demand from the community, and 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, no 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.

We need websites that allow the sale of pets to step up and protect their welfare, and proactively enforce their existing policies where relevant.

You can help protect pets online.

Email Gumtree and Trading Post

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

Find your pet responsibly

If you’re thinking about introducing a dog or cat to your family, remember to check out the RSPCA’s Smart Puppy and Dog Buyers Guide and Smart Kitten and Cat Buyers Guide, which has all the information you need to make an informed decision. Of course, it’s a good idea to visit your local animal shelter too, as there might be the perfect pet waiting there for you to adopt!

Download the RSPCA’s Guide for the Online Advertising of Pets


Email Gumtree and Trading Post

Use our 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.

Yours sincerely,
[First name] [Last name]
[State] [Postcode]

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