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RSPCA Policy A3 Acquiring a companion animal

3.1The RSPCA advocates that acquiring a companion animal should be the result of careful planning (see A2). The prospective owners should have a clear understanding of the responsibilities involved for the animal’s lifetime.
3.2Prospective owners should consider adopting an animal from the RSPCA or another reputable animal welfare, rehoming, or rescue organisation.
3.3If an animal is being acquired from somewhere other than an animal welfare organisation, where possible, the animal should be acquired directly from the place where they were born and/or reared. This minimises stress to the animal and allows prospective owners to assess factors which impact the animal’s welfare such as how the animals at the property are kept (including the condition and behaviour of other animals present), and to learn about the specific needs of the species or type/breed of animal.
3.4Caution is advised for potential owners considering acquiring animals through websites or in any way where there is no face-to-face contact with the breeder, seller, rehomer, or (potential) new companion animal or their parents. Acquiring animals in this way can result in prospective owners acquiring animals who have been inappropriately bred or kept, or being targeted by fraud, and does not allow the prospective owner to assess factors which impact the welfare of the animal (see A3.3).
3.5People breeding, selling, or rehoming animals have a responsibility to ensure that prospective owners are made aware of the long term physical and mental needs of the animal, before the animal is transferred to the new owner. This includes any known health problems or heritable disorders (e.g. arising from exaggerated physical features), the associated health and welfare issues, and the potential costs associated with managing such problems.
3.6The RSPCA advocates for regulation and registration associated with mandatory standards for all outlets selling or rearing companion animals providing for the conditions under which the animals are kept and presented for sale.

See also:

Policy E - Wild Animals
Policy GP1 - Good animal welfare
Policy GP3 - Standards and guidelines, and codes of practice
Position Paper A5 - Responsible companion animal breeding
Position Paper GP1 - Animal welfare legislation
Position Paper GP2 - Development of nationally consistent animal welfare standards and guidelines
RSPCA Smart Puppy and Dog Buyer’s Guide
RSPCA Smart Kitten and Cat Buyer’s Guide

(adopted 08/04/2024)

Also Read

Updated on April 24, 2024

RSPCA policies reflect the best available evidence to direct and guide RSPCA and others, to promote and achieve good animal welfare outcomes.

Reference to ‘the RSPCA’ or ‘RSPCA’ in this document means RSPCA Australia and each of the RSPCA Australia member Societies.

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