Pet rehoming sector reforms

The Victorian Government recognises the valuable services provided by Victoria’s pet rehoming sector and is committed to supporting the sector to continue delivering its important work.

In line with this commitment, in March 2021, the Victorian Government launched the Taskforce on Rehoming Pets (the Taskforce). The Taskforce was established to investigate and provide recommendations to Government on how to improve and further support the rehoming of dogs and cats in Victoria.

The Taskforce comprised then Member for Western Victoria Andy Meddick (Chair), Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards and Member for Narre Warren South Gary Maas.

In December 2021, after extensive consultation with the pet rehoming and animal welfare sectors, the Taskforce delivered its final report to Government with 17 recommendations on the following themes:

  • how to improve the welfare and survival rates of cats and dogs requiring rehoming while maintaining community safety
  • a regulatory framework for the rehoming of pets in Victoria
  • how to improve transparency in the movement of animals between shelters, pounds, Community Foster Care Networks and rescue groups
  • how to improve information and advice for scientific organisations and Animal Ethics Committees to support the successful rehoming of dogs and cats used in research and teaching
  • how to further develop and implement the successful rehoming of dogs and cats used in research and teaching.

Taskforce recommendations build on the 2018 Victorian Government commissioned review of Victoria’s Community Foster Care Network (CFCN) and foster carer operating environment, undertaken by The Bond and Associates (TBA). The review’s resulting Action Plan for Successful Rehoming of Cats and Dogs in Victoria sets out suggested options to strengthen existing arrangements for pet rehoming in Victoria and was used to inform the work of the Taskforce.

Download the action plan:

Taskforce on Rehoming Pets final report to the Victorian Government

Download the Taskforce’s report:

The Victorian Government's response to the Taskforce on Rehoming Pet's report

The Victorian Government has announced its support for the 17 Taskforce recommendations, including the development and implementation of a regulatory framework for Victoria’s pet rehoming sector.

The Victorian Government is committed to supporting the rehoming sector to continue their good work – as well as the work of other partners such as local councils, pounds and shelters, veterinary practitioners, adopters and the community. Government looks forward to working in partnership with the rehoming sector and the community to implement Taskforce recommendations, ensuring a focus on animal welfare, sector needs and community expectations.

Download the Victorian Government’s response to the Taskforce report:

Progress Update

Significant consultation with the rehoming sector is required to implement the valuable reforms. In June 2023, the Victorian Government rolled out the first phase of consultation with pet rehoming sector stakeholders, including rescue groups, foster carers, council pounds, animal shelters, local government, research organisations, teaching organisations and special interest groups. The consultation included interviews, workshops, and surveys, with the aim of accommodating as many participants as possible.

Download the summary of the consultation activities here:

Working group

In September 2023, the Rehoming Pets Working Group was formed and consists of 20 sector members  representing rescue groups, foster carers, shelters, councils, pounds, animal welfare groups and research and teaching organisations. In collaboration with the Victorian Government, the working group will design, develop and test policy proposals to support the delivery and implementation of the Taskforce recommendations.

Current Members

  • Mhairi Roberts, RSPCA Victoria
  • Amanda Doolan, Lort Smith
  • Amanda Smith, The Lost Dog’s Home
  • Mark Menze, Victorian Animal Aid Trust (Animal Aid)
  • Fra Atyeo, Bendigo Animal Relief Centre
  • Ashlie Price, Melton City Council
  • Ben Durant, City of Whittlesea / wat djerring Animal Facility
  • Leilani Schaller, Hepburn Shire Council
  • Bree Burns, Homeless Hounds
  • Rachel Smith, Animal-Free Science Advocacy Inc
  • Nell Thompson, Getting 2 Zero
  • Dr Diana Rayment, Australian Institute of Animal Management
  • Raphaela Lesmono, Tails of The Forgotten Paws
  • Phillip Cassap, Colliewobbles Rescue and Rehoming Australia Inc
  • Tom Wright, Project Underdog Rescue
  • Trisha Taylor, Victorian Dog Rescue & Resource Group Inc
  • Nikki Steendam, Beagle Freedom Australia
  • Dr Peta Grisby, Bionics Institute
  • Dr Carmen Glanville, University of Melbourne
  • Dr Lucy Crawford, Bendigo Kangan Institute

Past Members

  • Robyn Kirby, Animal-Free Science Advocacy Inc, September 2023 – February 2024

More information

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Page last updated: 12 Mar 2024