Microchip numbers needed in pet sale advertisements

To allow traceability of pets sold or given away, all advertisements for the sale or giveaway of a dog or cat must display both the seller’s source number and the individual animal’s microchip number. Source numbers can be obtained from the Pet Exchange Register.

Learn more about the Pet Exchange Register.

Frequently asked questions about microchips

What if I am not a cat breeder and just want to give away my dog or cat?

Advertising requirements apply to any person or business advertising the sale or giveaway of a dog, cat, puppy or kitten.

All advertisements must now include the valid source number of the seller and the individual microchip number of each cat, dog, puppy or kitten being sold or given away.

These requirements apply to advertisements made on Facebook, Twitter, Gumtree, Trading Post and Instagram, etc.

What advertising requirements apply to breeding domestic animal business?

If you have 3 or more fertile female dogs or cats, breed them to sell (whether for profit or not), and are not a member of an Applicable Organisation (e.g. Dogs Victoria), you are deemed to be a domestic animal business (DAB).

DABs must be registered with local council and comply with the mandatory Code of Practice for the Operation of Breeding and Rearing Businesses (2014).

From 10 April 2020, if you have between 11 and 50 fertile female dogs and breed them to sell, you must also be approved as a commercial dog breeder.

DABs are provided with a Pet Exchange Register source number by their local council. This source number and the individual animal’s microchip number must be displayed on all advertisements.

What advertising requirements apply to Applicable Organisation members?

If you are a member of an Applicable Organisation with up to 10 fertile female dogs or cats, you are classified as a recreational breeder.

You do not need to register as a DAB unless you have 11 or more fertile female dogs or cats. For dog breeders, this will also require you to apply to the Minister for Agriculture for Commercial Dog Breeder approval.

Recreational breeders must register on the Pet Exchange Register for a source number and display this number, together with the individual animal’s microchip number, on all advertisements.

There is no requirement to include your applicable organisation membership number in the advertisement.

What advertising requirements apply to members of Community Foster Care Networks (CFCNs) or rescue organisations?

CFCNs and rescue organisations can apply for a Pet Exchange Register source number.

The valid source number, together with the microchip number of each animal, must be displayed on all advertisements.

Do I have to display my valid source number if I am advertising the animal as ‘free to a good home’ or for giveaway?

Yes. The provisions to include your valid source number in advertisements applies for both sale or giving away.

You will also need to include the microchip number of each animal in addition to the source number.

Are there any exemptions?

No. All advertisements must include a valid source number and individual animal’s microchip number.

The DA Act does not allow for a veterinary practitioner to exempt any puppy or kitten from being implanted with a microchip for the purpose of advertising.

If I have purchased a dog or cat that was advertised, what information do I need to get from the seller?

The seller must provide the animal's microchip certificate with a signed change of ownership form.

Be sure to arrange the change of ownership details with the microchip registry, or check that the seller has done so.

I have seen an advertisement that doesn’t contain the seller’s source number and/or microchip number of the animal listed. How do I report this?

Advertisements that do not meet Victoria’s advertising requirements can be reported to Animal Welfare Victoria via the Pet Exchange Register.

What is the penalty if the advertisement doesn’t contain a valid source number and microchip number?

There are penalties for both the person or business advertising without a source number or microchip number, and a publisher that allows non-compliant advertisements to be published.

The maximum penalty is up to 5 penalty units, or you could be fined approximately $165.00. For publishers that are a body corporate, the maximum penalty is 20 penalty units, or a fine of approximately $825.00.

Enforcement action on these offences will be led by Authorised Officers from the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions (DJPR). Authorised Officers of Council and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) Victoria can also enforce these requirements.

What if I'm advertising through an interstate newspaper, or on a national online classified site?

The advertising offence relates to the advertising of dogs and cats in Victoria. It is an offence to advertise to Victorians without a valid source number and the individual animal’s microchip number.

If you decide to sell to Victorian consumers, you will need to obtain a source number.

What if I'm a breeder advertising the future availability of puppies or kittens that aren't born or for sale yet?

As long as your advertisement relates only to the future availability of litters, and does not include reference to individual animals or animals currently 'for sale', the microchip and source number requirements do not apply.

However, as soon as these animals do become available for sale, the advertisement must be updated with individual animal’s microchip details and the seller’s valid source number.

Further information

Please contact your local council for information on:

  • registration and microchipping of cats and dogs
  • registration of dog or cat breeding facilities
  • reporting concerns regarding a DAB
  • other dog or cat ownership issues.
Page last updated: 17 Aug 2021