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The Pet Advertising Advisory Group's advice on buying and selling a pet online is very important and we strongly recommend that you view their guides by clicking here, prior to contacting a vendor. They have a general guide for buying pets and additional advice depending on the type of pet. Please view our own helpful guide to buying and selling safely online here. Please see below for some of the key important advice on buying safely.
Confirm the advertiser is genuine
Whether you are buying a horse, a home, or a hat; arrange to meet at the advertisers home (or stables).
The address where you are asked to meet MUST match the postcode from this advert. In an effort to try and eliminate puppy farming (and other equally unethical and illegal practices), we cross-check the postcodes from our adverts. If advertisers try and use aliases, we can still spot if multiple animals are being sold from the same postcode area, and pass this information onto the relevant authorities for further investigation. Please report the advert if you are asked to meet at a different location. There is a 'Report problem' link above. Unless this is reported to us, we may not know this is happening. The advertiser is able to change the postcode relating to their own adverts at any time, so there is never an excuse to be asked to meet somewhere else. Although it may be more convenient for you to meet at a 'half-way' point, please do not do so. You will have no way of knowing where the person is really based, that they live where they claim to live, or what conditions any animals are coming from!
If you are asked for money/a deposit to be paid to secure a viewing, please do not agree to do this. NEVER send money online, even if they say they will deliver to you. To help avoid potential scams, please view our own helpful guide to buying and selling safely online here. While we do try our best to monitor the content of adverts, Animal Classifieds is not able to verify that all advertisers are genuine. Please visit the advertiser at their home to confirm for yourself. If you are unsure that the advertiser is genuine, even if it is just the slightest feeling, please report them to us (link is above) and do not go ahead with the purchase.
Always get a receipt
No matter the value of the sale, or what is being sold, always get a receipt or a bill of sale. Receipts can either be handwritten or typed, but must always be in ink, not pencil. If handwritten, it should be legible. A receipt should ideally include all of the following.
(1) Seller's Name, Address (and ideally Contact Number)
(2) Buyer's Name and Address
(3) Product/animal details (include desctiptions, identifying features, microchip numbers, etc).
(4) Amount of the transaction.
(5) Method of payment.
(6) Signatures from both the seller and the buyer.
(7) Any other relevant information. Please see the examples below.
Part 7, Example 1: "This receipt is for the deposit of the horse "Beauty" pending a formal vetting which should take place with XX days. This will reserve the animal for you. Once the horse passes the vetting a balance of £xxx will be due within xx hours to complete the sale. Should the horse fail the vetting, the full deposit will be refunded immediately."
Part 7, Example 2: "Should the animal become ill within 48 hours, it can be returned for a full refund."
Do your research first
Whatever the animal, a large commitment is involved. Please ensure that you have researched the pet (and breed) fully and have the time, finances and commitment necessary to care for them. For more detailed information on buying and caring for animals, please click here.
Check the health of the animal
Most of us are not veterinarians, and it may be difficult for us to check if an animal is healthy or not. Do not buy any animal unless the seller agrees that you can return the animal within within 48 hours for a full refund if any health problems arise. If the seller is not willing for you to do this, why not? Please use those 48 hours to take the animal to a vet for a full health check. Make sure that you get this guarantee in writing before parting with any money (see the section on getting a receipt). It is always recommended that you have a potential horse vetted prior to purchase.
Please be aware of the following issues that you may be able to spot: Any animal which appears to have a runny nose, mucky eyes or noisy breathing/struggling for breath should be avoided. A dull coat, lethargy, general listlessness, fear of people or any unusual behaviour may be indicative of current or future problems which you will want to avoid.
Example: Puppies are bouncy and inquisitive by nature. If you are told that a puppy is tired because they have been running round all day, do not take this at face value, no matter how convincing. Even if tired, puppies will usually want to come and see someone new and interact. A puppy that seems very scared when you arrive has probably not being properly socialised with people. This is sometimes the case with puppy-farming. If you are worried, even the smallest bit, please report the advert.
See young animals with their mother
Whether a kitten, a puppy or a young foal, the advertiser should ALWAYS let you see the young animal with their mother. Not being able to see the young animals with their mother may be a sign that the animals have either not been bred by the advertiser, or they may have been imported. If the advertiser will not permit you to see them with Mum, please walk away and report them using the 'Report problem' link above. The young animal should be seen to interact with Mum. If the two are lying down separately, or acting disinterested with each other, it may not be the real mother.
Are the young animals old enough to leave Mum?
Dogs, Cats and Rabbits should not be separated from their mothers below the age of 8 weeks. Foals should be a minimum of 6 months old.
Is the animal up to date with their vaccinations?
Dogs, Cats, Horses and Rabbits should all receive vaccinations from a young age. If the seller is not up to date with, or has not started the vaccinations, please ensure that you get this done before allowing the pet to socialise with other animals. If you are unsure about what vaccinations are required, please consult your vet.
Is the animal microchipped/passported?
Since April 2016, all dogs over 8 weeks old are required by law to be microchipped, and that the registered owner/keeper details are kept up to date. It is not compulsory for cats, but it is recommended. Please ensure that you have received the microchip documentation and transfer the registration details as soon as you get the animal home.
Horse passports were made compulsory in 2007. From 2009, all horses being issued with a new passport must also be microchipped. Any horse born since 2009 should therefore have both a passport and a microchip. Any horse older this must have at least a passport. Please do not buy a horse without the passport and microchip documentation, as it may be stolen. On the pre-purchase vetting, the vet should be able to verify the microchip number to ensure that the paperwork matches the horse.
Independently verify registration claims
We would always advise that you independently verify breed registry, Kennel Club registration, etc. prior to buying any animal.
Here at Animal Classifieds we endeavour to follow and exceed the PAAG (Pet Advertising Advisory Group) minimum standards for online classified advertising websites. If you have noticed any content anywhere on this site that doesn't follow this, please let us know. To view the minimum standards on the PAAG website, please click here.