Animal welfare charity, Mayhew, is asking owners not to sell their pets on Gumtree, but instead opt for their safer alternative for rehoming unwanted animals.

For owners who find themselves with an unwanted animal, selling or giving away their pet online may feel like a quick and easy solution. However, Mayhew warns that using a third party site such as Gumtree could risk their health, welfare and happiness – and can also be dangerous and costly for both buyers and sellers.

When purchasing a pet online, there is no existing way to check or authenticate the breed, health or welfare of the animal you are buying (or the credentials of the person selling it) – and no experts on hand to support the buyer, seller or animal itself through the process of rehoming.

This could result in people taking home a sick, injured or incompatible animal, or conversely, giving up a beloved pet into the arms of someone with bad intentions for the animal.

Brave and Shadow

When two Chihuahua puppies – Brave and Shadow – were born to an unneutered mother earlier this year, the owner quickly found herself overwhelmed and unable to cope with the new additions to the family. The pregnancy had been unexpected, and the owner soon realised she was not in a position to keep the two puppies. Wanting to rehome them as soon as possible, she turned to Gumtree, listing them for sale.

As time went by and no serious offers were made, the owner began to get more and more desperate to get rid of the dogs. Luckily for little Brave and Shadow, she ended up turning to Mayhew for help. An Adoption Officer went straight out to collect Brave and Shadow, and she signed them over into the charity’s care.

After giving them both a thorough health check, Mayhew were then able to match them to two perfect new owners, who each underwent an adoption interview and a home check before taking the pups home. Unlike when selling pets online, Vets and Adoption Officers were on hand to support Brave and Shadow’s old and new owners during every step of rehoming process, and made the transition for Brave and Shadow as stress free as possible.

Brave’s new owner, Patricia, said, “Brave is settling into his new family life, and although at times he looks a little worried, his confidence is growing steadily day by day. He is so intelligent and playful, and a great addition to our home – we are so glad we found him.”


Loki, a Staffie/Collie/Greyhound crossbreed, was a beloved pet who’d lived with his original owner for a year. However, when she suddenly found herself in a difficult situation, it became clear to her that she would have to give Loki up.

Needing to rehome Loki as soon as possible, the owner listed him on Gumtree, hoping a new owner would come forward quickly. To her relief, someone did – only for it not to work out; seeing Loki return to his original owner after only a few days. Mayhew’s Adoption Officers spotted the listing, and contacted the owner to ask if she would like to be part of their Rehome From Home scheme instead.

During a Rehome From Home process, the animal can be kept at home until a new owner is found, minimising stress from being in kennels. Adoption Officers are able to collect an animal from its existing home and bring it in to Mayhew for veterinary treatment, health and behavioural checks, and can also help to provide food and care whilst the animal finds a new family.

Third party sales ban

Whilst not everyone who tries to buy or sell an animal on sites like Gumtree has a hidden agenda, they unarguably offer deceptive breeders and sellers a way of duping the general public into spending hundreds or thousands of pounds on abused, unwell or unsuitable animals.

Earlier this year, Defra announced a ban on the third party sales of puppies and kittens under eight weeks old, which forms part of a wider government overhaul of animal welfare regulations. Together with tighter licensing and breeding laws, this ban will make it more difficult for younger animals to be sold on third party sites such as Gumtree.

Puppy sales will only legally be able to be completed after they are eight weeks old, in the environment where the animal has been born, and in the presence of the mother and the breeder/owner.

Along with fellow animal welfare charities, Mayhew are also urging existing and prospective pet owners to visit a shelter when looking to relinquish or adopt a four legged friend of any age.

To find out more about Mayhew’s Rehome From Home Scheme and to see Loki’s online profile please visit their website.


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