Chihuahua puppy

VeriPet – the Technical Solution to Stop Illegal Puppy Traders 

Regulating online puppy trade with the help of technology

18.12.2023

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.  

Background

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.

The innovative solution to stop the illegal puppy trade

A short overview about how VeriPet works

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How the VeriPet process works in more detail

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 one-time 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 May 2022, FOUR PAWS, Europetnet, Amicus and anibis.ch launched the pilot for the VeriPet verification system in Switzerland. Over the course of a year, more than 2,000 microchip numbers were checked on anibis.ch. On average, this represents approximately 17% of the total number of advertisements in the dog category. The system was used on anibis.ch only for dogs registered in the Swiss database Amicus and on a voluntary basis. 

The successful collaboration between various actors made the pilot of VeriPet possible in Switzerland and showed how the industry has taken steps to improve quality in order to make ads in the dog category of classifieds platforms safer.

What are the prerequisites for VeriPet?

The dog registration verification tool 'VeriPet' is one element of the „Model Solution for full traceability across the European online puppy trade”. FOUR PAWS is calling for a coordinated response from the entities most closely related to the puppy trade and its regulation – identification and registration databases, classified ad websites, and national governments. Together they can facilitate the collation of more comprehensive data records for every dog, stricter regulation of advertising on classified sites, solid legal frameworks to enforce requirements, and comprehensive interlinking of all these elements. The FOUR PAWS Model Solution report aims to highlight the opportunities afforded by the introduction of the EU Animal Health Law and to outline how the Model Solution will work, what actions are required of the various agencies involved, and the benefits of their involvement. If implemented as FOUR PAWS proposes, the Model Solution could achieve a range of outcomes including improved animal welfare, better animal and human health, increased tax revenue, and greater consumer protection. Find more information about the Model Solution and the report here.

Selling a Puppy Online

Selling a Puppy Online

The cycle of the online puppy trade

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

About FOUR PAWS Model Solution for Ending the Illegal Puppy Trade

Click here

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