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Code of Animal Welfare for Cats and Dogs

Trade Me's Code of Animal Welfare ensures well-being and transparency when selling animals on Trade Me.

By Trust and Safety 10 November 2023

How Trade Me's code of welfare keeps puppies this happy

Even though we can't and don't administer the Animal Welfare Act, we still have a role to play.

We work closely with animal welfare organisations to make sure Trade Me is a safe place for both animals in Aotearoa.

What is the code of welfare?

Our Code of Animal Welfare provides a list of guidelines we expect everyone listing cats and dogs to be aware of and follow when able to.

The Code is voluntary. It aims to help ensure positive animal welfare for animals traded through the site, but it can't cover every situation. For example, an animal that may have been rescued from a situation where it was being mistreated can't be considered to have been raised and cared for under the Code of Animal Welfare.

Working dogs are not required to be subject to the Code.

The check box

When creating a listing, the seller can tick a box confirming that the animal:

  • Has been cared for in accordance with the Code.
  • Has had a vet check.
  • Is wormed and de-flead as appropriate.
  • Is in good overall health.

Ticking the box during the listing process declares that the seller has taken clear steps to promote animal welfare. One of these messages will be displayed, depending on whether or not the box has been ticked.

If a Code-compliant listing is made, the listing will display appropriate wording to reflect this.

If the tick box is not selected, the listing will state the Code has not been met.

Members who say they've met the code but don't could be in breach of the Fair Trading Act and could face enforcement action from the Commerce Commission for any misrepresentations.

Misrepresented listings also breach our terms and conditions. In these cases, we may:

  • Prevent the seller from listing animals.
  • Suspend their membership.

Checklist for listing cats and dogs

When listing, you can choose from these categories:

  • Cat/Dog for sale.
  • Litter of Puppies/Kittens for sale.
  • Cat/Dog for adoption.


  • Litter listings can be for up to eight animals, and one litter per listing.
  • The date of birth for the little must be included in the listing.
  • Puppies and kittens can't be rehomed before they are eight weeks old (they can be listed before then, but they can't be separated from their mother and released to their new owner before eight weeks).Pu
  • Puppies or kittens younger than eight weeks old can be rehomed if they have been abandoned by the mother, or the mother is unable to nourish her litter.

In a 12-month period, sellers can list a maximum of:

  • Dogs: five litters, or 40 dogs (whichever comes first).
  • Cats: six litters, or 40 cats (whichever comes first).

This doesn't include animals being adopted for free.

Animals for adoption

For animals for adoption, no money should change hands.

Animal rehoming organisations approved by Trade Me (such as the SPCA) are exempt from this and can charge a cost recovery fee. This fee must not include a profit or donation component. You can apply to become an approved organisation by reaching out to us.

Microchip identification

  • Under New Zealand law, all dogs over three months (excluding working dogs) must be microchipped.
  • The microchip number must be disclosed in the listing.
  • For non-microchipped puppies younger than three months, the mother's microchip number is required instead.

This helps to track animal numbers and determine whether animals are being overbred, as covered in the Code.

Veterinarian Report

The Code requires animals to have a health check by a registered veterinarian before being listed. This should be provided to the new owner at the time the animal is released. We encourage buyers to request this.

If Trade Me requires this report, we expect sellers to supply it within 24 hours.

Have concerns about a listing?
Notify our Compliance team so they can investigate.
Find out how


Trust and Safety
Trust and Safety