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

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.

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’.

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

Intensive Breeding of Cats or Dogs (Animal Welfare Act 1992)
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)

Minister can instruct breed societies to implement an accreditation scheme.

Queensland Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for the Breeding of Dogs and their Progeny (Oct 2018)
New South WalesCompanion Animals Act 1998NilYes

Animal Welfare Code of Practice Breeding dogs and cats
Northern TerritoryNilNilNil
South AustraliaDog & Cat Management Act 1995Mandatory registration of all breeders and any owners of an entire dog/cat from 6 months of age (NB desexing is mandatory by 6 months of age)

Government supplies breeder registration number (BRN)

South Australian Standards and Guidelines for Breeding and Trading Companion Animals 2017
TasmaniaCat Management Act 2009

Dog Control Act 2000


VictoriaDomestic Animal Act 1994

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

But only if there are at least 3 breeding females & are exempt if registered with a breed organisation except if there are >10 breeding females

Code of Practice for the Operation of Breeding and Rearing Businesses

Code of Practice for the Breeding of Animals with Heritable Defects that Cause Disease
Western AustraliaDog Act 1976

Cat Act 2011



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Updated on May 1, 2019
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