Domestic animal legislation updates

Domestic Animals Amendment (Puppy Farms and Pet Shops) Act 2017Cat leaning on dog lying down

The Domestic Animals Amendment (Puppy Farm and Pet Shops) Act 2017 (PFPS Act) is in operation.

The PFPS Act follows a Parliamentary Inquiry and feedback from:

  • members of the general public
  • veterinary groups
  • animal welfare organisations
  • rescue organisations
  • local councils
  • dog and cat breeders
  • pet shops
  • representative groups.

The Act introduces a range of amendments to the Domestic Animals Act 1994 (Act). These amendments deliver on the government's election commitment to reform the dog breeding and pet shop industries in Victoria and better regulate the sale of dogs and cats.

The PFPS Act amends the Act to:

  • limit the number of fertile female dogs breeders can keep
  • restrict pet shops to selling dogs and cats sourced from shelters, pounds or enrolled foster carers*
  • clarify the role of foster carers
  • define 'recreational breeders' and 'microbreeders'
  • confirm the definition of 'farm working dogs'
  • introduce the animal sale permit system
  • improve traceability of cats and dogs through the establishment of the Pet Exchange Register**
  • strengthen pet advertisement offences.

* Note, relevant sections commence on 1 July 2018

** Note, relevant section commence on 1 July 2019

See factsheets and infographics about the PFPS Act.

See applicable templates.

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 the Parliament Victoria website.

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
  • 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 — dangerous dog owners who sell, give away or transfer the ownership of their dog to another person, must notify the person in writing that the dog is deemed dangerous.

Please email pet.welfare@ecodev.vic.gov.au 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 has sufficient funds to maintain and develop existing education programs, policy and legislation initiatives.

Payments increased from the 2018 to 2019 financial year.

Further details are available in this fact sheet:

Moratorium on euthanasia

The moratorium on euthanasia of restricted breed dogs ended in 2017. Restricted breed dogs may now be registered with councils in Victoria as long as owners comply with the strict controls in place.

Act and regulations

Animal Welfare legislation

Domestic Animals Act 1994

Read the Domestic Animals Act 1994.

Domestic Animals Regulations

Read the Domestic Animals Regulations 2015.

Governing Orders

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.

These are the published Orders currently in place:

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. 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.
  • Notice of Declaration of Applicable OrganisationsNotice 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.

These are the published prescribed requirements currently in place:

Page last updated: 24 Nov 2020