Regulatory Compliance in Online Dog Advertisements in Australia

Animals (Basel). 2020 Mar 3;10(3):425. doi: 10.3390/ani10030425.


In Australia, each state and territory authority implements and enforces regulations regarding dog management-including the breeding and sale of dogs online-which is increasingly becoming the most popular method of obtaining pets. The aims for this study included: 1. Benchmarking regulatory compliance in online dog advertisements in Australia, and, 2. Understanding factors associated with regulatory compliance in online advertisements. We collected advertisements for dogs and puppies from Gumtree-one of Australia's most popular online trading platforms - on two separate days, two weeks apart (25 March and 8 April 2019). A total of 1735 unique advertisements were included in the dataset. Chi-squared tests and multivariable logistic regression models were used to identify risk factors for microchipping, desexing and breeder identification number, and compliance levels. State laws requiring animals to be microchipped prior to sale and the inclusion of chip numbers in advertisements were found to be the biggest factor in increasing likelihood of microchipped animals in Gumtree advertisements, while desexing was more common in microchipped and older animals. The online ad was more likely to include a breeder ID if the dog was young, vaccinated, and advertised by a breeder rather than an owner. The findings from this study will assist regulators to make evidence-based decisions on managing online advertisements for companion animals. In the future, the benchmarking this study has presented will allow future analysis of the effectiveness of regulation changes.

Keywords: Australia; advertising; breeder ID; desexing; dog; microchipping; online; regulation.