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  4. Are there laws that require companion animal breeders to meet certain standards of care?
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  3. Are there laws that require companion animal breeders to meet certain standards of care?
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Are there laws that require companion animal breeders to meet certain standards of care?

Puppy and kitten sitting looking at camera

Laws relating to the welfare of animals vary in different states. In some states, companion animal breeders have to be registered, which may also require meeting certain standards of care but in other states, breeder registration and/or standards may not exist (see Table below). Specific requirements are often contained within associated Regulations so it is best to check these too. Your local council can give advice on current requirements.

The RSPCA believes that the welfare issues associated with companion animal breeding will only be addressed through proper regulation and enforcement. RSPCA Australia advocates a compulsory registration and licensing system for all outlets selling companion animals, including breeders. The conditions under which animals are bred, kept and presented for sale must be detailed in a code of practice with compliance with the code of practice made a condition of licensing. These requirements would deter and/or help identify and prosecute puppy farm operators.

State governments would be responsible for governing these laws however, as stated above, compulsory standards of care do not yet exist in most states. The RSPCA is powerless to prosecute irresponsible breeders unless they are committing an offence under animal welfare legislation in the state they are operating in. Sadly, this means the situation has to be very serious before any legal action can be taken.

Please see the related article What laws are necessary to stop puppy farming? and the attached documents ‘Legislating to End Puppy Farming – the Way Forward’ and ‘End Puppy farming – The Way Forward’.

If you live in a state/territory which does not have licensing and mandatory standards and you are concerned about this issue, please contact the Minister responsible for animal welfare to request appropriate be taken to safeguard the welfare of companion animals.

Three puppies that all look the same sitting and loking at camera

State/TerritoryActBreeder registrationBreeder welfare standards
ACTDomestic Animals Act 2000Mandatory registration of all breeders and any owners of an entire dog/cat from three months of age (NB desexing is mandatory by 3 months of age)Yes

The Australian Capital Territory Animal Welfare (Breeding Standard establishes minimum acceptable practices that must be complied with, failure to comply is an offence under the Act.
QueenslandAnimal Management (Cats and Dogs) Act 2008Dogs only

Mandatory registration of all breeders (even someone with one female breeding dog)

Breeder society registration accepted

Government supplies breeder identification number (BIN)
Dogs only

The Queensland Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for the Breeding of Dogs and their Progeny (Oct 2018) establish minimum acceptable practices that must be complied with, failure to comply will be investigated and penalties may apply.
New South WalesCompanion Animals Act 1998NilYes

Animal Welfare Code of Practice Breeding dogs and cats sets out standards that have legal effect in three ways:

  • Failure to meet a standard may result in a Penalty Infringement Notice or a prosecution under Clause 20 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (General) Regulation 2006.

  • In more serious cases, failure to meet a standard may support a prosecution for an offence under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1979.

Northern TerritoryNilNilNil
South AustraliaDog & Cat Management Act 1995Mandatory registration of all breeders and any owners of an entire dog/cat from six months of age (NB desexing is mandatory by six months of age)

Government supplies breeder registration number (BRN)
Yes

The South Australian Standards and Guidelines for Breeding and Trading Companion Animals 2017 set out standards that have legal effect in two ways:

  • failure to meet a standard may result in an expiation notice or a prosecution under the Animal Welfare Regulations 2012

  • in more serious cases, failure to meet a standard may support a prosecution for an offence under the Animal Welfare Act 1985.
TasmaniaCat Management Act 2009

Dog Control Act 2000
Nil

Nil
Only dogs

The Animal Welfare (Dogs) Regulations 2016 establish minimum acceptable practices that must be complied with, failure to comply will be investigated and penalties may apply.
VictoriaDomestic Animal Act 1994

Domestic Animals Amendment (Puppy Farms and Pet Shops) Act 2017
Yes

But only if there are at least three breeding females & are exempt if registered with a breed organisation except if there are >10 breeding females
Yes

The Code of Practice for the Operation of Breeding and Rearing Businesses and the Code of Practice for the Breeding of Animals with Heritable Defects that Cause Disease both establish minimum acceptable practices that must be complied with, failure to comply will be investigated and penalties may apply.
Western AustraliaDog Act 1976

Cat Act 2011
Nil

Yes
Nil (however, note that draft Standards and Guidelines for the Health and Welfare of Dogs in WA (Dog Standards and Guidelines) are being developed (June 2019)

Nil

The information presented here is not intended to be relied on for legal advice and you should seek advice from the relevant authority and/or a lawyer about your individual circumstances.

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Updated on July 24, 2019
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https://kb.rspca.org.au/knowledge-base/are-there-laws-that-require-companion-animal-breeders-to-meet-certain-standards-of-care/

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