'Free to a Good Home’ Adverts


Many people simply cannot bear the thought of accepting money for their beloved family pet. Although we would of course always advise that people consider rescue, we recognise that some people will not consider this to be a viable option for the pet they are forced to rehome.

When drafting the PAAG Minimum Standards, we did initially try to encourage classified advertising websites to not allow animals advertised as free to a good home.

Our concerns with these adverts include:

  • People may get animals they have seen advertised on impulse. Thus they don’t do enough, if any, research into the needs of the animal. They may not recognise, or fully consider, the financial implications of caring for the animal in the long term, including buying equipment, vet fees, food, electricity bills (especially for exotics), boarding costs when going on holiday, etc. If someone can't afford to buy/donate money for an animal, do they have resources to look after the animal properly in the long term?
  • Impulse buying can also mean that new owners aren’t ready and/or aware for all the required commitments (both in terms of time and finances) that owning an animal entails.
  • Advertising as ‘free to good home’ may devalue an animal and they may not necessarily be seen as a sentient being with needs that have to be met.

However, including this recommendation proved quite problematic, with many sellers changing “free” to “£1” (as an example), thereby still essentially giving the animal away.

Whilst our concerns about advertising animals for free online remain we continue to work to help educate sellers to be careful when choosing to do so. We ask those websites that engage with us to share information on responsible rehoming to any seller advertising an animal as ‘free to a good home’.

Many of PAAG’s member organisations offer rehoming services which mean a pet can stay with its current owner until a new owner can be found, meaning a pet doesn’t need to go into a rehoming centre. For further information about these services please visit:

Blue Cross: Home Direct

Mayhew: Rehome from Home


Approved by: All PAAG Members                 

Date: Wednesday 26th June 2019