Minimum Standards

Websites must:

  1. Suspend adverts where there is a reasonable concern for the health and / or welfare of the animal(s) advertised.
  2. Run automated checks for ‘blacklisted’ words / terms which may indicate illegal activity and filter for misleading or inappropriate adverts. Review list of black-listed words regularly.
  3. Report any suspicion of illegal activity (e.g. adverts for puppies with visibly docked tails, dogs with cropped ears, or any reference to dog fighting), or concern about welfare of any animal advertised for sale to the appropriate agency (e.g. An Garda Síochána, DAFM, ISPCA, NPWS etc.). Note that the relevant agency may request that the advert remain ‘live’ to facilitate investigation.
  4. Require all vendors to include a photograph of any companion animal(s) or equine(s) that they are advertising.
  5. Monitor for suspicious use of images.
  6. Require that all adverts display the age of the animal(s) advertised. No animal (other than a foal accompanied by its mother) should be advertised for transfer to a new owner before it is weaned.
  7. Mares with foal at foot may be offered for sale. Foals offered for sale independently must be a minimum of six months old.
  8. Puppies offered for sale must be a minimum of eight weeks old.
  9. Ban adverts offering pregnant animals (excluding equines) for sale and advise vendors to contact an appropriate animal welfare organisation for advice (e.g. IHWT for equines, ISPCA for other animals).
  10. Monitor and potentially ban vendors who use multiple mobile/telephone numbers and email addresses in adverts.
  11. Monitor for and permanently ban vendors (e.g. on a three strikes and you’re out basis) who attempt to post adverts that do not comply with the minimum standards,
  12. Remove illegal or inappropriate adverts within three working days of notification.
  13. Ensure that adverts for canines or equines comply with relevant EU and / or national microchipping and identification legislation. All adverts must state clearly that they comply with relevant EU and / or national microchipping legislation.
  14. Ensure that every ‘view item’ page includes prominent link to IPAAG advice on buying and selling a pet (and specific advice for commonly advertised species).
  15. Ban adverts for live vertebrate animals that are intended to be fed live to other animals (e.g. ban adverts for live mice to be fed to snakes).
  16. Ban adverts advertising for sale any species covered by EU Wildlife Trade Regulations Annex A and listed by CITES Appendix I for sale without a valid Article 10 Certificate.
  17. Ban adverts for non-human primates such as marmosets and lemurs as they are not suitable to be kept as pets due to their complex needs.
  18. Require vendors of ‘exotic’ animal(s) to provide (or provide a link to) appropriate information on the care of that species. ‘Exotic’ animals are defined as species not normally domesticated in Ireland.
  19. Ban adverts offering stud animals, animals in season or animals ‘for rent’, or ‘loan’ in the pet section. Note that adverts offering horses for loan may be acceptable.
  20. Ban adverts offering foster mares.
  21. Ban adverts which offer pets for swap with other animals, services or goods
  22. Provide advice and support that encourages responsible rehoming to advertisers of any animal ‘free to a good home’.
  23. Provide a visible function for purchasers to report inappropriate adverts.
  24. Ensure that no vertebrates are advertised for sale as deliverable through the postal system, national or international and that transport of any animal complies with the legislation.
  25. Require all vendors to state the country of residence from which the animal is being sold.
  26. Inform all vendors of dogs that if they have six or more breeding female dogs that their premises are required to be inspected under the Dog Breeding Establishments Act 2010 and that compliance may be checked with local authorities.