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Is desexing mandatory for cats and dogs?

In Australia, animal management legislation is a state or territory responsibility rather than a federal or national one. Unfortunately, not all laws between states are consistent so there may be difference regarding requirements for desexing your dog or cat and the age when this must be done. Additionally, some councils have bylaws making desexing a compulsory part of animal registration.

As cats can become sexually mature at 4 months of age, and dogs by 6 months, the states with mandatory desexing include the age by which this needs to be done, in order to prevent unwanted litters of cats and dogs being born. In all states with mandatory desexing legislation, there are limited exemptions, usually for breeders who hold a breeding permit issued by the relevant government authority. For more information on which states/territories have mandatory desexing of dogs and cats, see the table below.

State/TerritoryMandatory Desexing Legislation
ACTYes. 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.
NSWNo.
NTNo.
QLDNo.
SAYes, from July 1st 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.
TASYes for cats - Section 14 of the Cat Management Act 2009 requires all cats over 6 months of age to be desexed, with limited exemptions.

No for dogs - dogs are not required to be desexed.
VICNo.
WAYes for cats - Section 18 of the Cat Act 2011 requires all cats over 6 months of age to be desexed, with limited exemptions.

No for dogs - dogs are not required to be desexed.

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 May 16, 2019
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https://kb.rspca.org.au/knowledge-base/is-desexing-mandatory-for-cats-and-dogs/

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