How do we enable compliance with licensing requirements?

We provide lots of advice and information to our users regarding UK licensing requirements. Here are some of the things we do and information we provide to advertisers who use our service.


Displaying license numbers

You can use the Find Your Local Council webpage to check what the requirements within your local authority may be, and find the contact details needed to discuss any concerns further with them.

We enable sellers to enter their license number and local authority name / local authority website on their account if they require a license and display these details on every advert they create. We also ask them to provide us with a copy of their license so we can confirm they are actually licensed. On every advert page on the website, we also display whether or not the advertiser is licensed. If a user is licensed, we display their license number and local authority name (but not the image of their licence).

If you are a user with an active breeding license

Please upload your licence details to your account.

If you are an authority and a user is not responding or complying

Please send us a data processing request (DPA). If you deem that a user requires a breeding licence, we can disable them and e-mail them to contact their local authority licensing department to discuss this with you directly. We do this with many councils, and will only allow the advertiser continue to use our platform once we have either received their license details, or receive confirmation from their licensing officer that they no longer need to obtain a licence.

Licensing Information Notices

Pets4Homes was involved in the animal welfare enquiry before the Animal Welfare Act of 2018 came into effect, and gave written and oral evidence during this enquiry.

Pet Shop License Requirements

A pet shop license is required if you run a business selling pets. This includes all commercial selling of pets, including pet shops and businesses selling animals over the internet.

Third Party Sales

Please note that Pets4Homes do not allow anyone to advertise kittens or puppies under a pet shop license. All puppies and kittens advertised must have been bred by yourselves.

Dog Breeding License Requirements

On the account page when an advertiser is logged in, we display a licensing information notice message that they need to read and dismiss:

From 1st October 2018, the Dog breeding licensing requirements in England changed. If you are a dog breeder and aren't currently licensed, we would advise contacting your local council to discuss.

We also display information regarding licensing requirements and advise users to report issues to a local authority. Users have the opportunity to read our extra information:

A local council issued dog breeding license may be required for anyone who keeps a breeding establishment (Including private dwellings) for dogs which meets the following conditions:
  1. If in a 12 month period their dogs give birth to 3 litters or more, regardless of the reason.
  2. Anyone "in the business" of breeding and selling dogs for commercial gain needs to be licensed regardless of the number of litters they have in a 12 month period.*

* The decision as to whether you are classed as “in the business” of breeding and selling dogs for commercial gain is decided by your local council and the requirements vary between each local council authority.

Endangered Species and CITES Papers

For more information on advertising endangered pets, please see this page.

Keeping our users well informed

In the run-up to the 1st of October changes, we published several articles on upcoming animal welfare changes and advertised them heavily across the website and social media. Some of these articles are shown below:

What licensed dog breeders must do to legally advertise their litters
What breeders need to do to be licensed after changes to the animal welfare act
Buying a puppy from a licensed dog breeder

Identifying business users

  • We actively monitor sellers' accounts and if we see that they are trying to advertise three or more litters of puppies in a 12-month period, we will advise them to contact their local authority.
  • Regarding the business test, as you will be aware, each local authorities interpretation of this is different, and we would advise you to contact any advertisers on our website in your area which you think need to be licensed.

Setting an example in the industry

There are many other classifieds and platforms that allow pets to be advertised, that do not provide any information related to licensing or ask for license details. We think Pets4Homes is the most responsible platform for advertising pets and we are always happy to work with local authorities and have built good working relationships with many.

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