Microchip numbers needed in pet sale advertisements
To allow traceability of sellers of pets, it is an offence to advertise the sale of a dog or cat unless the microchip identification number of the animal is included in the advertisement or notice. A registered domestic animal business must also include registration number and name of registering council.
From 1 July 2019, any person or business who is advertising to sell or give away a dog or a cat will also need to be enrolled on the Pet Exchange Register. Adverts for a dog or cat for sale will need to include both the animal’s microchip number and the source number generated by the Register.
Visit the Pet Exchange Register page for FAQs.
Frequently asked questions about microchips
Is the requirement for microchipping information limited to only breeding businesses?
No. The legislation applies to anyone in Victoria who advertises a dog or cat (or puppy or kitten) for sale. All dogs and cats that are being advertised for sale (including being given away through a business) need to be permanently identified and that microchip number must appear in the advertisement.
If the person is a registered business (such as a pet shop, shelter or breeder) they must also include its registration number and name of registering council.
What is the definition of a breeding domestic animal business?
If you have 3 or more fertile female dogs or 3 or more fertile female cats and sell dogs or cats (whether you make a profit or not), you are deemed to be a domestic animal business. This means you must register with the local council and comply with the mandatory Code of Practice for the Operation of Breeding and Rearing Establishments.
However, if you are a member of an applicable organisation you do not need to register as a domestic animal business unless you have 10 or more fertile female dogs or 10 or more fertile female cats. Either way you must comply with local council laws in relation to the maximum number of animals allowed on a property.
What if I am a member of an applicable organisation but not a registered domestic animal business?
If you are advertising a dog or cat for sale, the advertisement must include that animal's microchip number. There is no requirement to include your applicable organisation membership number in the advertisement.
What if I'm part of a Community Foster Care Network, or a dog or cat rescue organisation, but not registered with the Council as a domestic animal business?
You will be required to include microchip numbers in dog/cat sale advertisements.
Do I have to put in the microchip number if I am advertising the animal as ‘free to a good home’ or giveaway?
Yes. The provisions to include microchip numbers in advertisements applies for both sale or giving away.
Are there any exemptions?
The only exemption is if a veterinarian has provided a certificate to say the animal cannot be microchipped as it would significantly prejudice the animal's health.
If I have purchased a dog or cat that was advertised what information do I need to get from the seller?
The seller must provide the microchip certificate and you must arrange the change of ownership details with the microchip registry.
I have seen an advertisement without a microchip number – who do I report this to?
If the advertisement is on a local notice board or the like then contact your local council.
If the advertisement is in a classified publication or website you should inform that organisation of the new requirements.
What if the microchip number in the advertisement is not the same as the one in the animal I have purchased?
You should first ensure that the number on the microchip certificate matches the microchip in your animal (a vet can do this for you).
Once you have this information (regardless of whether the certificate and microchip match) contact the Licensing Officer in the Department of Primary Industries on (03) 9217 4433.
What is the penalty if I advertise for sale a dog or cat without a microchip number?
The classified publication may choose to withdraw your advertisement from their publication.
You may lose potential customers who are looking for ethical and transparent people to purchase an animal from.
There is a penalty of up to 5 penalty units (around $600) that can be issued by Authorised Officers of the RSPCA, or a local Council.
What if I'm advertising through an Interstate newspaper, or on a National online classified site?
If you are based in Victoria, and if the dog or cat sale advertisement will be viewed by prospective purchasers in Victoria, then the requirement to include a microchip number still applies.
What if I'm a breeder advertising the future availability of puppies or kittens that aren't born or are too young for sale?
As long as your advertisement relates only to the future availability of litters (litters not currently born), and does not include reference to animals currently "for sale", the microchip requirements do not apply. However, once puppies or kittens are born they must be advertised with a microchip number or have a veterinary certificate stating that they are too young to microchip as it would be prejudicial to their health.
Such advertisements must be kept up to date; as soon as these animals are of an age suitable for microchipping,in the opinion of a veterinarian, the microchip details must also be displayed in the advertisement.
You cannot advertise 'expressions of interest' for puppies or kittens that have been born.
Please contact your local council for information on:
- registration and microchipping of cats and dogs
- registration of commercial breeding establishments
- other dog or cat ownership issues.
Local government is also responsible for auditing breeding and rearing establishments to ensure compliance with the standards in the Code of Practice.
For more information on responsible pet ownership call the Customer Service Centre on 136 186.
Animal Welfare – it's your duty to care.