Regulatory Compliance in Online Dog Advertisements in Australia
School of Animal & Veterinary Sciences, University of Adelaide, 5005 Adelaide, Australia
School of Mathematical Sciences, University of Adelaide, 5005 Adelaide, Australia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 3 February 2020
Revised: 28 February 2020
Accepted: 28 February 2020
Published: 3 March 2020
As Australians increasingly purchase their companion dogs online, Australian state and territory authorities are faced with the challenge of ensuring online sales adhere to local regulations. Using webscraping techniques, we analysed 1735 unique advertisements for dogs and puppies from Gumtree—one of Australia’s most popular trading platforms—and benchmarked levels of microchipping, desexing and breeder identification numbers in each state and territory. We found an increased likelihood of microchipping in states requiring microchipping prior to sale and inclusion of chip numbers in advertisements. Older animals who were microchipped were more likely to be desexed, and advertisements placed by breeders who were selling vaccinated puppies were more likely to include a breeder registration number in their ad than sellers who identified themselves as owners. We recommend regulatory bodies use this data to make evidence-based decisions on future regulation and use this benchmark to monitor effectiveness of any changes.