Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Regulations 2019

The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Regulations 2019 (the regulations) aim to protect the welfare of animals in Victoria. They operate under the POCTA Act and support the legislation to prevent or minimise harm through regulation of specific activities.

A summary of the provisions is outlined below, noting it is not an exhaustive list.

Transport of animals

Under the regulations:

  • Animals must not be transported in the boot of a sedan motor vehicle [Regulation 6(1)].
  • Animals must not be left unattended in motor vehicles when the temperature is at, or exceeds, 28 degrees Celsius [Regulation 6(2)].
  • For dogs secured to motor vehicle metal trays, access to an area insulated from the hot metal surface is required when the temperature is at, or exceeds, 28 degrees Celsius require [Regulation 6(4)].
  • Time off-water when transporting livestock or farm animals must not exceed times in the Land Transport Standards and Guidelines (Land Transport S&G) [Regulation 6(5)].
  • Livestock must not be transported if the animal is not able to walk on its own by bearing weight on all legs [Regulations 6(6)].
  • Transport of livestock in passenger vehicles is prohibited except in specific conditions [Regulations 6(7)].
  • Note: further requirements for the transport of livestock can be found in the Land Transport S&G .

Tethering animals

The Regulations prescribe requirements for the tethering of animals.

Under the Regulations, a person must not tether an animal, using a fixed tether, or running tether, unless all of the following requirements are met:

  • the animal has access to water at all times
  • the animal is able to exercise daily off the tether
  • the animal is able to lie down and stand up without restriction
  • the animal is tethered by a collar or halter which is attached to the tether by a swivel
  • the animal is checked at least twice daily
  • the animal has access to physical shelter at all times
  • if herbivorous, the animal is able to graze or browse freely.

Sheep - Pain relief for mulesing and overgrown fleece

If you are mulesing sheep in Victoria, you must administer pain relief to those sheep. This means using a pain-relieving product registered for use on sheep by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority. [Regulation 8(1)].

If you are unsure about what products you should be using speak to your veterinary practitioner.

  • Note: Producers are legally required to keep records of agricultural and veterinary chemical product(s) used on their farm, therefore full records of use of the registered pain relief product(s) must be kept.

The fleece of sheep must not be allowed to grow to a length twice the average annual growth for the breed of sheep, or more than 250 millimetres (whichever is shorter).

Prohibited devices

  • Under the regulations, these include:
  • Dog and cock fighting implements / animals for fighting purposes
  • Twisted mouthpieces for horses
  • Pronged collars

Oxy-LPG devices

You must not use an Oxy-LPG pest control device unless you’ve made all reasonable efforts to empty the burrow or warren of live rabbits using other methods [Regulation 12].

Household fruit netting

Netting used to protect household fruit-trees, vegetable gardens, or other fruiting plants must have a mesh size, of 5mm x 5mm or less at full stretch. [Regulation 13].

This regulation applies to both the sale and use of household fruit netting.

Learn more about how to use of fruit netting on the Agriculture Victoria website.

Electronic devices, including electronic collars

Electronic devices cannot be used on animals unless permitted in the regulations. For the purposes of the legislation, an electronic device is a device that is capable of imparting an electric current or shock on any animal, whether or not the device is working.

The regulations set out requirements for the sale and use of permitted electric devices, including electric collars, fences, prodders and electronic devices for therapeutic purposes. The definition of a qualified dog trainer for use of electronic collars is also included in the regulations.

Requirements for the use and sale of authorised electronic collars are prescribed in the regulations. An authorised electronic collar must not be used on a dog or cat unless the design and technical specifications of the collar comply with standards approved by the Minister [Regulation 24(f)].

Electronic devices used for therapeutic effect are only permitted where a Ministerial approval is in place. Two approval notices  are in place permitting specified devices to be used, one notice sets out devices that may be used by veterinary practitioners and the other notice specifies devices for general use.

All other electronic devices, that are not included in the regulations, are prohibited. Penalties for offences under the regulations apply to a person who uses or places an electronic device on an animal, whether or not the device is working. This includes use of a prohibited device or a permitted electronic device that is not used in accordance with the specified conditions.

Animal traps and glue traps

The regulations set the requirements for the sale and use of the following kinds of animal traps:

  • Leghold traps (require Ministerial approval for some species or for urban use and can only be used in approved areas)
  • Confinement traps
  • Net traps
  • Non-kill snares (require Ministerial approval)
  • Rodent kill traps
  • Kill traps (require Ministerial approval)
  • Lethal trap devices (require Ministerial approval).

Learn more about trapping of pest animals and humane trapping of cats.

The sale, use or setting of glue traps that can trap an animal is banned. A glue trap can be used for the purposes of capturing an insect if the trap has a cage or is designed to prevent an animal contacting the adhesive surface.

Rodeos and rodeo schools

The legislation aims to ensure the welfare of animals used in rodeos.

Rodeos can only be operated under a licence or permit issued by the Department.

For more information about the legal requirements for rodeo operators and information for participants visit the on Rodeos in Victoria page.

Use of animals in scientific procedures and teaching

In Victoria, individuals or organisations wanting to conduct scientific procedures with animals must apply for a licence and follow the conditions set out in the regulations.

Licence holders must nominate an Animal Ethics Committee (AEC) to oversee the use of animals for scientific purposes.

Learn more about licensing to use animals in research or teaching.

Find a full list of Notices made under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Regulations 2019 here.

Read the full POCTA Regulations 2019.

Page last updated: 01 Aug 2023