VeriPet – the Technical Solution to Stop Illegal Puppy Traders
Regulating online puppy trade with the help of technology
VeriPet is an innovative technical solution to combat the illegal puppy trade and ensure that only registered dogs can be advertised online by traceable sellers. VeriPet makes the online trade safer and blocks market access for illegal puppy dealers.
Dog owners in most European countries are required to register their dog in a national pet microchip identification and registration database. The entry for each dog should include data about the dog owner and information about the dog, including a microchip number and information such as age, breed, country of registration and date of registration. With the VeriPet application programming interface (API), only the registered – and therefore traceable – owner of a dog will be permitted to advertise them online.
The implementation of VeriPet is a multi-stakeholder project implemented by Europetnet together with FOUR PAWS, databases and classified ad sites.
How the VeriPet technical system works
When placing an advertisement on a participating classified ad site, the seller will need to provide the dog’s microchip number along with their mobile phone number or email.
The VeriPet API will then carry out an automatic check with pet registration databases to see if the details match.
A onetime code will then be sent to the registered owner of the dog and this code will need to be added to the advertisement in order for it to go live.
This means that only the person registered on the dog’s microchip will be permitted to place an advertisement to sell that particular dog. Illegal puppy dealers who do not want to be traceable to authorities, and thus do not register the dog, will not be able to verify their identity and therefore will lose access to the online marketplace.
How the implementation works
The system was launched on a classified ad site in Ireland in August 2021 – dogs.ie. The information about the dog is checked against the data on the Irish pet registration database – FIDO. Read more about the project in Ireland.
In Switzerland, Europetnet and FOUR PAWS partner with Amicus – the largest Swiss dog registration database which holds information on more than 560,000 dogs. The participating classified ad site – Anibis – is one of the major classified ad sites in Switzerland and implements VeriPet as a national frontrunner for the system. As a first step, Anibis will implement VeriPet only on ads that are for dogs registered in Switzerland. The technical implementation of the Swiss system was finalised in May 2022.
What needs to happen for a dog ad to be published?
- A breeder registers his dog or brings his puppies to a vet for microchipping and issuing of country-specific documents (e.g. pet passport)
- The details of the dog (e.g. microchip, passport number, breed, age, name etc.) and the dog owner (e.g. name, ID, contact details) get registered into a pet registration database where the data is safe and identity verified (registration)
- The pet breeder wants to sell the puppies
- The pet owner visits a classified ad site
- The pet owner enters the microchip ID number for the dog into the relevant form field on the classified ad site
- The microchip number of the dog is checked against the information on held by the microchip database
- A one-time passcode (PIN) is sent to the telephone number of the pet owner that is on the database (after he enters his telephone number on the website and this is checked)
- The pet owner enters the PIN into the respective field on the classified ad site
- If the PIN is correct, the ad can go live
- If the PIN is not entered correctly, the advertiser will be prompted to either update their registration details, or will not be allowed to place the ad