The Pet Advertising Advisory Group (PAAG) was created in 2001 to combat growing concerns regarding the irresponsible advertising of pets for sale, rehoming, and exchange. The Group comprises animal welfare organisations, trade associations and veterinary bodies. Defra, DAERA in Northern Ireland, the Welsh Government and the Scottish Government have endorsed PAAG.
Even since its formation, PAAG has witnessed a massive increase in the number of pets and animals advertised online. The ease and popularity of the internet means that the impulse buying of pets has become an appealing option, with people able to search and find an animal for sale at the click of a button. The lure of a quick, unregulated sale also attracts many unscrupulous breeders and dealers to websites.
PAAG aims to ensure that pet animals advertised for sale are done so legally and ethically. PAAG has been engaging with online marketplaces in the UK to help them distinguish appropriate adverts from those that should be removed. We have developed a set of Government-backed Advertising Standards which several of the UK’s largest classified websites have agreed to meet. This continuing work with websites is vital, especially given the current lack of regulation with regards to the online advertising and sale of pets.
PAAG also aims to raise public awareness of the need to act responsibly when looking to buy pets advertised on websites and in publications and the need to do research before making any purchase.
We urge buyers to be cautious when looking to buy an animal via an online advert and look at the guidance we have included on this site. We have seen a number of cases where people have unwittingly purchased poorly or problem pets.
If you have bought an animal from a classified advert or website that has turned out to be a poorly or problem pet or are concerned about a pet being advertised for sale please follow our advice on how to report it.
Established in 1860, Battersea Dogs & Cats Home aims never to turn away a dog or cat in need of help. We reunite lost dogs and cats with their owners or care for them until new homes can be found. We also educate the public about responsible pet ownership. There are three Battersea centres – south London, Old Windsor in Berkshire and Brands Hatch in Kent. We have an average of 400 dogs and 190 cats in our care at any one time in our kennels, cattery and foster homes.
Blue Cross provides practical support, information and advice for pet and horse owners. Through its network of animal adoption centres it rehomes thousands of animals each year. Its hospitals provide veterinary care for pets of people who cannot afford private vets’ fees.
The British Veterinary Association (BVA) is the national representative body for the veterinary profession in the United Kingdom and has over 13,500 members. Our primary aim is to protect and promote the interests of the veterinary profession and represent the views of our members on a wide range of issues including animal health, animal welfare, public health, regulatory issues and employment concerns.
We provide a number of advice leaflets for animal owners which are available to download on our website.
The British Veterinary Nursing Association (BVNA) is the sole, national representative body for the veterinary nursing profession in the United Kingdom. It was formed in 1965 and today has over 6,500 members. It is the voice of veterinary nursing and aims to protect and promote the interests of the whole of the veterinary nursing profession, representing the the views of our members on a wide range of familiar and emerging issues including status, permitted duties, legislative reform, animal health and welfare, regulatory issues and employment concerns.
Cats Protection is the leading feline welfare charity and over the last five years has helped more than a million cats. We are supported by 9,000 volunteers and 260 volunteer-run branches across the UK working to re-home stray and abandoned cats, promote neutering and deliver education talks to children and community groups.
Since the 1850’s the City of London Corporation has played an important role in the development of Animal Health & Welfare. Animal Health and Welfare Services is provided by the City of London Corporation, a uniquely diverse organisation with three main aims –
• To support and promote London as the world’s leading international financial and business centre and attract new business to the capital and the whole UK
• To work in partnership with local communities to increase skills, employment and opportunities for all Londoners, including through the City Bridge Trust
• To enhance the capital as a hub of culture, history and green spaces for Londoners – residents, workers, and visitors.
• Currently the responsibility for imported animals in regards to welfare and the prevention of disease extends beyond the boundaries of the Square Mile to all of Greater London. The City of London
has a resource of experienced, qualified and competent Animal Health Inspectors to offer animal health agency arrangements to other Local Authorities whose animal health & welfare facilities are less extensive. Carrying out inspections in a range of premises covered by Animal Health Legislation offering advice, education and carrying out enforcement.
Founded in 1891, Dogs Trust is working towards the day when all dogs can enjoy a happy life free from the threat of unnecessary destruction. The charity has always campaigned on dog welfare related issues to ensure a safe and happy future for our four legged friends.
Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home has been part of the fabric of their city since 1883, working in partnership with Local Authority and Police services by welcoming lost or abandoned pets from all corners of Edinburgh and the Lothians. Their small team is united by the love and dedication towards the animals in their care, and the belief that any dog or cat that comes to our door, whatever the reason, should be safe, warm and well-fed. Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home will never put a healthy dog or cat down, and will work tirelessly to find a permanent loving home for each of them, however long it takes.
The Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF) is the premier cat registration body in the UK and aims to set the standard others worldwide aspire to emulate. Established in 1910 the organisation grew out of the foundation of the cat fancy, which took place in Britain in the late 19th century.
Our mission is to take a strong lead in protecting welfare by promoting healthy and responsible cat breeding and ownership. We are a source of advice and guidance on all aspects of care, health and welfare, cat genetics and sound responsible breeding practice. GCCF was incorporated in 2011, it registers over 21,000 cats per year and licenses almost 150 shows annually. It has its own charity: the Cat Welfare Trust.
At International Cat Care we believe in a world in which each cat’s life experience will be as good as it can be. We do this by providing cat owners, veterinary professionals and those that live and work with cats with the resources, support and advice they need to care better for their cats.
The International Society of Feline Medicine is the veterinary division of International Cat Care and provides a worldwide resource for veterinarians on feline medicine and surgery.
Founded in 1969, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) saves individual animals, animal populations and habitats all over the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW provides hands-on assistance to animals in need, whether it’s dogs and cats, wildlife and livestock, or rescuing animals in the wake of disasters. We also advocate saving populations from cruelty and depletion, such as our campaign to end commercial whaling and seal hunts.
The Kennel Club is the UK’s largest organisation dedicated to improving the welfare, health and general wellbeing of all dogs throughout every stage of their lives. We offer all dog owners and those working with dogs an unparalleled source of education, experience and advice on dog breeding, dog health, dog acquisition, dog training and responsible dog ownership.
Mayhew, based in London, has a vision of a society where animals are treated and cared for with respect. We help hundreds of animals in need gain a better quality of life through our community-based animal care and welfare, education and prevention programmes.
OneKind is a UK-based animal protection charity working to end animal suffering through campaigns, research and education. For over a century, OneKind has carried out public awareness and educational campaigns, produced scientific research and reports, and regularly exposed both legal and illegal cruelty to animals. Many of these actions have helped to bring changes in the law and foster greater respect and compassion for animals, in the UK and beyond. The achievement of modern legislation to govern the commercial pet trade in Britain is one of OneKind’s current priorities.
The Ornamental Aquatic Trade Association (OATA) is the ‘voice’ of the ornamental fish industry. We currently represent more than 800 members from across the trade, from importers and wholesalers to manufacturers, suppliers and retailers. Our core mission is to protect and promote the industry and fishkeeping hobby through proactive and continuous representation at local, national and international levels as well as promoting education and training within the industry and among hobbyists to encourage and support responsible pet ownership.
PDSA is the UK’s leading veterinary charity, caring for the pets of people in need through our network of veterinary hospitals and services. We’re dedicated to helping pets in three very special ways; preventing illness and disease, educating pet owners about the best way to care for their pets, and treating sick and injured animals. Every year, we help hundreds of thousands of pets and their owners; saving pets, changing lives.
The Pet Industry Federation (PIF) is the membership association for pet industry specialist in the UK. As a Federation it combines five specialist trade associations under one umbrella group. Federation members are pet industry specialists and include groomers, pet boarders, pet retailers and manufacturers. We are the only organisation to represent all the different sectors of the pet industry: together our voice is stronger. We offer industry-led qualifications and training in dog grooming, pet retail and kennel & cattery management and organise pet trade events. Membership of the Federation offers a hallmark of quality: all our members agree to abide by sector specific charters to demonstrate good practice.
The Rabbit Welfare Association & Fund (RWAF) is the largest organisation dedicated to improving the health and welfare of the UK’s pet rabbits. Rabbits commonly suffer neglect through ignorance, so our aims are to improve the quality of life of pet rabbits through education and communication. We specifically aim to encourage the keeping of pet rabbits in conditions that meet the physical and behavioural needs of the species; to educate the owners of pet rabbits; to promote veterinary interest and knowledge in rabbit medicine and to support rabbit rescue.
Raystede Centre for Animal Welfare is an animal rescue and rehoming centre and sanctuary based near Lewes in East Sussex. We are passionate about the wellbeing of all animals and are committed to giving them the best possible life. Each year we rescue, rehome, and provide sanctuary for more than 2000 animals. We rehome cats, dogs, chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese, and small animals; provide lifelong sanctuary home to horses, ponies, donkeys, alpacas, sheep, goats, tortoises, terrapins and exotic birds; and rehabilitate British wildlife. Our sizeable lakes also offer a safe haven for visiting waterfowl. We have been caring for animals for over 60 years and are very proud of the professionalism of our staff and volunteers. Raystede is free to visit almost every day of the year. Central to our work is our educational outreach to schools in Sussex and beyond. We also offer guidance to all ages on the best practices in animal welfare and pet care. A further defining feature of Raystede now much copied was the first animal crematorium – ‘Peaceways’ which opened in 1964. As a registered charity we rely entirely on voluntary donations and regularly have fundraising events on and off site for which we welcome new participants and volunteers.
The Reptile and Exotic Pet Trade Association (REPTA) was formed in 2005 to represent the specialist trade in exotic animals. The emphasis is on reptiles and amphibians but its remit encompasses all aspects of the exotic pet trade from importation, wholesaler through to retail. The core function is to protect and promote responsible and sustainable trade, education and training as well as promoting responsible ownership.
The RSPCA is the UK’s biggest animal charity and every year we rescue more animals from cruelty and danger than any other organisation – a fact we’re very proud of. This work is carried out by RSPCA inspectors and officers, our frontline staff who work around the clock in England and Wales making life better for animals. They are our backbone – without them tens of thousands of animals would suffer each and every year. A huge part of our work is the direct care of animals – our wildlife centres, animal hospitals, clinics and branches treat more than 200,000 animals every year, and our animal centres and branches give more than 50,000 animals a second chance of a new home and life. For nearly 200 years we’ve been rescuing animals – over that time we’ve built up unique skills and experience in animal welfare. At a local level we work through our branches and dedicated volunteers to give hands-on care to animals, and across England and Wales and internationally we are working to improve the protection given to animals.
The Scottish SPCA is Scotland’s animal welfare charity and we’ve been helping animals for almost 180 years. We rescue animals and nurse them back to health before finding them loving new homes or releasing them back into the wild. Investigating abuse across Scotland, we’re proud to be at the forefront of preventing cruelty to animals. As the only animal charity in the UK recognised as a reporting agency to the Crown Office, our inspectors enforce the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006.
We are committed to supporting the welfare of all animals – domestic, farm and wildlife – and are continually deepening our welfare expertise through our ground breaking work and research with partners. Education is at the heart of what we do and we play a vital role in supporting and educating the public on animal welfare issues. Our free interactive Prevention through Education programme for Scottish primary schools reaches over 275,000 children each year.
Trading Standards Scotland (TSS) is the national team for trading standards in Scotland. The team is funded by the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and managed by the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA); the representative body of local government in Scotland. Operationally, TSS has a duty to coordinate and enforce cross boundary and national casework as well as undertake the specialist functions of tackling illegal money lending and e-crime. It is a resource intended to add capacity to local authority trading standards teams in these areas of activity. TSS has also developed an intelligence gathering and analysis function. This allows the national team to identify a picture of Level 2 criminal activity (activity that takes place across council and/or national boundaries) and has implemented a tasking and coordination process to determine the allocation of resource to tackle it. TSS has chosen to focus on four specific problem areas one being the Illicit Trade in Puppies.
The Ulster Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (USPCA) was established in 1836. Our work is based in Northern Ireland and focuses on the prevention of cruelty to animals, the relief of suffering in animals and the promotion of animal welfare. Our services include: - an animal hospital to treat the companion animals of those unable to afford mainstream veterinary care, - the rescue, treatment and release of injured wildlife, - finding new homes for pets in situations where an individual’s personal circumstances have changed, leading to them being unable to continue to care for their companion animal, - investigating organised animal cruelty such as badger baiting, dog fighting and puppy trafficking, - education programmes to promote responsible pet ownership. Our vision is a society where all animals are respected, not exposed to cruelty and free from unnecessary suffering.
Every year Wood Green, The Animals Charity finds secure, loving new homes for around 5,500 animals. As well as rehoming cats and dogs, they rehome many other animals including rabbits, mice, guinea pigs, chickens and goats. Our vision is of a world where all pets are well cared for in loving homes for life. We aim to achieve this vision by providing the best possible care for animals in need, promoting good animal welfare and responsible pet ownership by providing support, guidance and education to members of the public and setting standards of animal welfare in the UK and beyond.
World Horse Welfare is an international charity that improves the lives of horses in the UK and worldwide through education, campaigning and hands-on care. Since we were founded in 1927, our whole approach has been practical, based on scientific evidence and our extensive experience, and focused on delivering lasting change across the full spectrum of the horse world. In the UK our dedicated network of Field Officers investigate and resolve welfare problems, and we run four Rescue and Rehoming Centres where horses in need can receive specialist care, undergo rehabilitation and find loving new homes through our rehoming scheme – the largest of its kind in the UK. Our international programmes alleviate the suffering of thousands of working horses by providing essential knowledge for horse owning communities in the developing world. We also work tirelessly to change legislation and attitudes to horse welfare through campaigns and education, including our founding campaign to end the suffering endured by the tens of thousands of horses transported long-distance across Europe to slaughter each year. We support the responsible use of horses in sport, and are independent welfare advisers to the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) and British Horseracing Authority (BHA).
Our Family Dog aims to tackle the mismatch between the expectations and reality of dog ownership by better preparing people for life with a dog. Through a range of online resources, Our Family Dog supports people to get a puppy responsibly and safely, prepare for their arrival, and give their pet the best start in life.