Domestic animal legislation and latest news
Domestic Animals Amendment (Puppy Farm and Pet Shops) Bill 2016
The government recently introduced the Domestic Animals Amendment (Puppy Farms and Pet Shops) Bill 2016 (Bill) to Parliament. The objective of this Bill was to reform the dog breeding and pet shop industries in Victoria.
The Legislative Council's Economy and Infrastructure Committee has since made a number of recommendations regarding the Bill. In light of these recommendations, the government will reassess the legislation.
Amendments to the Bill will be developed in the new year, in consultation with stakeholders, and will be considered by the Parliament in the first half of 2017.
In the meantime, existing legislative provisions to protect animal welfare will be rigorously enforced.
Investigation into animal welfare and cruelty in the Victorian greyhound industry final report
This review was released on Thursday 11 June 2015 by the Minister for Agriculture, Jaala Pulford.
Read the final report:
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 has now been tabled in Parliament. It sets out the measures the government proposes to introduce to support regulatory reform. The government accepts the need to change Victoria's restricted breed dog legislation.
The government's response 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 agrees or agrees 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 proposed amendment to the Act to allow 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 will still be 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 will also remain in place.
The government will amend the Act in 2017 to allow the registration of restricted breed dogs in Victoria. The current moratorium on the requirement to euthanase restricted breed dogs will remain in place until the required legislative amendment is made.
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. The government will work towards implementing accepted recommendations as soon as possible. However, some of them will take time.
A full copy of the Parliamentary Inquiry report can be accessed at Parliament Victoria.
Fact sheet and report
Moratorium on euthanasia
There is currently a moratorium on euthanising restricted breed dogs. The proposed legislative amendment to allow registration of restricted breed dogs will be implemented before the moratorium expires.
The moratorium will ensure that no dog is destroyed solely because of it being a restricted breed dog. This will only affect newly declared restricted breed dogs that cannot be registered under the current law or dogs where council decide to refuse registration because of their breed.
The moratorium will not protect restricted breed dogs from destruction in other cases where destruction powers are provided such as: a dog that has attacked, a dog attacking livestock or a dog destroyed under health grounds.
The Lost Dogs' Home Audit Report
In Victoria, animal shelters must be registered with the local council and comply with the Domestic Animals Act 1994 and the Code of Practice for the Management of Dogs and Cats in Shelters and Pounds (Revision 1).
The Lost Dogs' Home (LDH) is a Victorian animal shelter that has recently been the subject of community concern, in relation to its animal housing, return, rehoming and euthanasia practices. Subsequently, the Minister for Agriculture directed the department to undertake an audit to investigate these issues.
The audit process involved the department meeting with the registering agent, Melbourne City Council, to identify any specific areas of concern in relation to past audits, issues or complaints. Authorised officers of the department then audited the three LDH sites: North Melbourne (28-29/1/15), Cranbourne (2/2/15), and Echuca (3/2/15).
Full results of the audits are available below.
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