Domestic animal legislation and latest news
Domestic Animals Amendment (Restricted Breed Dogs) Act 2017
The Domestic Animals Amendment (Restricted Breed Dogs) Act 2017 came into effect on 30 September 2017.
This Amendment Act amends the Domestic Animals Act 1994, to:
- allow the registration of restricted breed dogs in Victoria
- clarify the dangerous dog status of guard dogs when retired to a residential premises
- increase the payments for registered dogs and cats made by Councils to the Treasurer under section 69(1)(a) and (aa) of the Domestic Animals Act 1994.
The Parliamentary Inquiry into the Legislative and Regulatory Framework Relating to Restricted Breed Dogs recommended enabling the registration of restricted breed dogs. For full details of Inquiry findings and recommendations, visit parliament.vic.gov.au.
Allowing the registration of restricted breed dogs does benefit councils, and improve community safety. Councils will have a better idea of the location of these dogs, and can ensure compliance with strict housing and ownership requirements. This will improve community safety through the identification of dogs and secure housing of dogs. The change will save councils money by avoiding costs associated with seizing, holding and euthanasing dogs declared as restricted breeds.
Allowing the registration of restricted breed dogs will not change any of the strict controls applying to restricted breed dogs currently in place. Restricted breed dogs must still be de-sexed, microchipped, kept on a leash and muzzled at all times when in public, identified with a prescribed collar, and housed according to regulations.
Bans on breeding, importing, selling or transferring ownership of restricted breed dogs also remain in place.
The Amendment Act clarifies that retired guard dogs are subject to the same housing and identification requirements as working guard dogs.
The Amendment Act introduces a new requirement that dangerous dog owners who sell, give away or transfer the ownership of that dog to another person, to notify that person in writing that the dog is deemed dangerous. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like a sample notification letter.
In addition, under the Amendment Act, payments for dogs and cats made by councils to the Treasurer will increase to $4.00 and the payments will be indexed by the Consumer Price Index annually. The increase to these payments will ensure the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources has sufficient funds to maintain and develop existing education programs, policy and legislation initiatives.
Payments will increase from the 2018-19 financial year.
Additional details are available in the attached fact sheet:
Moratorium on euthanasia
The moratorium on euthanasia of restricted breed dogs ended on 30 September 2017. Restricted breed dogs may now be registered with councils in Victoria as long as owners comply with the strict controls in place.
Response to the Parliamentary Inquiry into the Domestic Animals Amendment (Puppy Farms and Pet Shops) Bill 2016
The Domestic Animals Amendment (Puppy Farms and Pet Shops) Bill 2016 (the Bill) sought to deliver on the Government's election commitment to reform the dog breeding and pet shop industries in Victoria.
A Parliamentary Inquiry into the Bill, which concluded in December 2016, heard feedback from a large number of stakeholders.
Since the inquiry, the Minister for Agriculture has undertaken further discussions with the Victorian Veterinary Association, DOGS Victoria, cat applicable organisations, foster carers, and other affected groups.
The response to the Inquiry has now been tabled in Parliament, and is attached below.
The amended Bill, incorporating stakeholder feedback, will be presented to Parliament in 2017.
The government remains committed to implementing its election commitment to reform the dog breeding and pet shop industries as a matter of priority.
Parliamentary Inquiry into restricted breed dog legislation
The Parliamentary Inquiry into restricted breed dog legislation was established in 2015. The Economy and Infrastructure Committee undertook a detailed investigation into the management of different breeds of dog, and into dog attacks, their causes and prevention strategies. The inquiry received 502 written submissions and heard from 16 organisations and individuals at public hearings. The inquiry's report was published in March 2016 and contained 31 recommendations.
The government's response to the inquiry's report sets out measures for regulatory reform. The government has accepted the need to change Victoria's restricted breed dog legislation.
The government recognises the need for balance between supporting the benefits of dog ownership and protecting the community from dangerous dogs and irresponsible dog owners.
The government agreed, or agreed in principle, with 25 of the Inquiry's recommendation, including its recommendation that the Domestic Animals Act 1994 (Act) be amended to allow the registration of restricted breed dogs, while retaining all other restrictions related to restricted breed dogs.
The Act has been amended to allow registration of restricted breed dogs from 30 September 2017. This does not change any of the strict controls currently applying to restricted breed dogs. Restricted breed dogs are still required to:
- be de-sexed
- kept on a leash and muzzled at all times when in public
- securely confined to their owners back yard and
- wear a red and yellow striped collar at all times.
Properties containing a restricted breed dog must display a specific turquoise warning sign at the entrance to the property indicating that a restricted breed dog is housed on the premises.
Bans on breeding, adopting or transferring the ownership of restricted breed dogs remain in place.
As well as considering legislative requirements for restricted breed dogs, the Inquiry made a number of recommendations about responsible pet ownership, dangerous dogs and greyhounds.The recommendations on greyhounds will be considered as part of the separate greyhound welfare reform work that is currently under way.
A full copy of the Parliamentary Inquiry report can be accessed at Parliament Victoria.
Act and regulations
Animal Welfare legislation
Domestic Animals Act 1994
The latest version of this Act can be found at legislation.vic.gov.au. Click on 'law today' then select "Acts" beginning with 'D'.
Domestic Animals Regulations
The latest version of these Regulations can be found at legislation.vic.gov.au. Click on 'law today' then select "Statutory Rules" beginning with 'D'.
The Governor in Council may make Orders by publishing in the Government Gazette exemptions of any animal or class of animal to be exempt from any or all of the provisions of the Act.
The following are the published Orders currently in place:
- Exemption Order for dingoes (wildlife) exemption from registration with Council of individual dingoes and from domestic animal business registration for dingo breeders - Dingo Wildlife Order
- Exemption Order for owners of racing greyhounds exempting these dogs from the requirement to register racing Greyhounds with Council - Greyhound - Exemption Order
- Exemption Order for Greyhound Adoption Dogs exempting these dogs from the requirement to wear muzzles in public places - Greyhound - GAP Exemption Order
- Exemption Order for 'Lost Dogs Home' from the operation of Section 63A of Domestic Animals Act exempting the Lost Dogs home from the operation of Section 63A of Domestic Animals Act in relation to compliance with the provision under clause 2.3.6 of the Code of Practice for the Management of Dogs and Cats in Shelters and Pounds - Lost Dogs Home -Exemption Order 01-02-02
- Exemption Order for Imported Schutzhund trained dogs exempting imported schutzhund trained German Shepherds from section 10A(4)(a), section 40, and section 41(1) of the Domestic Animals Act - Imported Schutzhund trained German Shepherds Order 31-3-09
- Notice of approval of Guide Dog Training Organsations - there has been a new Gazettal for the 'Approval of Guide Dog Training Organisations'. The new Gazettal, published in The Victoria Government Gazette, on 14 March 2013 replaces the previous 'Approval' dated 14 March 1996 (attached). The change reflects the current business names of the operating organisations (Guide Dogs Victoria and Vision Australia Seeing Eye Dogs).
In addition to the new 'Approval' the Minister has provided the Approved Guide Dog Organisations with an exemption from the requirements of being a domestic animal business and from the requirements of section 96 of the Domestic Animals Act, 1994 (attached).
- Notice of Declaration of Applicable Organisations - Notice of Declaration of Applicable Organisations
- Exemption Order for the Scientific Establishments from registering dogs and cats - Exemption Order
- Exemption Order from the Victorian Animal Aid Trust from Specific operation of 63A - Exemption Order
The Secretary of the department has the power to require certain experience or qualifications to provide services under the Act.
The following are the published prescribed requirements currently in place:
- Notice of prescribed qualifications for non-Council employees to be Authorised Officers - Prescribed Qualifications for Non-Council Employees to be Authorised
- Approved qualifications for people to become Authorised Implanters to implant microchips into dogs and cats - Microchip Authorised Implanter Approved Qualifications