Preventing unwanted/unplanned pregnancies through desexing is an essential part of responsible companion animal ownership. RSPCA Australia advocates the mandatory desexing of all domestic dogs and cats who are kept as companion animals, as a strategy to prevented unwanted/unplanned breeding and reduce the number of animals in shelters.
Across different states and territories, there are different laws about desexing cats and dogs. Some states and territories have made it mandatory to desex cats and dogs unless you have a breeding permit (see the table below).
|State/Territory||Is desexing mandatory?||Name of relevant act/special conditions and requirements*|
|ACT||Yes||Section 74 of the Domestic Animals Act 2000 makes it an offence to own an undesexed dog over 6 months old or an undesexed cat over 3 months old without a permit.|
|NSW||No||Desexing is not mandatory for cats and dogs under state legislation, but may be mandatory for animal registration in some local government areas.|
|NT||No||Desexing is not mandatory for cats and dogs.|
|QLD||No||Desexing is not mandatory for cats and dogs.|
|SA||Yes||From 1 July 2018, Section 42E of the Dog and Cat Management Act 1995 makes it an offence to own an undesexed dog or cat over 6 months old, with limited exemptions.|
|TAS||Yes, for cats|
No, for dogs
|From 1 March 2022, Section 14 of the Cat Management Act 2009 requires all cats over 6 months of age to be desexed, with limited exemptions.
Desexing is not mandatory for dogs.
|VIC||No||Desexing is not mandatory for cats and dogs.|
|WA||Yes||Section 18 of the Cat Act 2011 requires all cats over 6 months of age to be desexed, with limited exemptions.
The Dog Amendment (Stop Puppy Farming) Bill 2021, passed by WA Parliament November 2021, will make desexing mandatory for all dogs by the age of two years, with limited exemptions.
|*Information current as of 19 December 2022.|
In some local council areas, desexing is mandatory for animal registration, or an additional fee must be paid to own undesexed cats and dogs. In NSW from 1 July 2020, owners of undesexed cats aged four months or older must pay an annual permit fee.
This information is not legal advice. Seek advice from the relevant authority.