If you are looking to welcome a companion animal into your family, RSPCA Australia encourages prospective owners to first consider adopting an animal from the RSPCA or other reputable animal welfare organisation.
If you’re unable to find an animal from a rescue organisation, another option is to adopt an animal who is being rehomed privately. Adopting directly from the previous owner gives you the opportunity to ask lots of questions and do your due diligence (e.g. visit the place where the animal has been kept).
If you are unable to adopt, another option is to find a responsible breeder. Be aware that there are numerous animal welfare problems associated with purebred dog breeding including exaggerated physical features, inbreeding, and inherited diseases. When selecting a certain breed, make sure you can cater for their particular needs, and understand the potential health and welfare problems associated with that breed.
Do your due diligence and check that the breeder:
- Is licensed by the relevant authority in your jurisdiction and meets or, ideally, exceeds minimum standards.
- Meets all legal requirements in your jurisdiction.
- Provides a high standard of care for all their animals. Visit the place where the animal was born to see the environment where they have been raised.
- Breeds responsibly to produce happy, healthy pets, free from known diseases and disorders. Insist on meeting the mother (and father if possible) to evaluate their temperament, health, and welfare.
- Gives you complete and accurate information about the medical history of the puppy/kitten and their parents/grandparents etc., including the risks of inherited disorders and the results of relevant screening tests.
- Demonstrates genuine concern that their animals go to good homes, only breeding animals when they know they can find good homes for all of them, and asking you lots of questions to make sure that you and the puppy/kitten are a good match.
- Offers ongoing support and information to new owners.
- Provides a guarantee that the animal will be accepted back.
- Provides references on request.
Consult the ‘Smart Puppy and Dog Buyer’s Guide’ or ‘Smart Kitten and Cat Buyer’s Guide’, and Knowledgebase article ‘I’m looking for a new companion animal, where should I go?’ for more information.