Victorian Breeders

Puppy farm legislation

Domestic Animals Amendment (Puppy Farms and Pet Shops) Act 2017

The Domestic Animals Amendment (Puppy Farm and Pet Shops) Act 2017 (the PFPS Act) passed the Victorian Parliament on 15 December 2017 and is now in operation.

  • The PFPS Act was introduced to Parliament following 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 and representative groups.

Video transcript

The amendments to the Domestic Animals Act 1994 (Act) 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 commenced on 1 July 2018

**Note, relevant section commences on 1 July 2019

Breeding and selling animals

Applications and permits to breed and sell animals in accordance with legal obligations are available:

Fact sheets

Below are a range of fact sheets and info graphics, which contain additional detail about the Act.

Info graphics

Breeding and rearing businesses

 

Consequential changes to breeding code – commenced 12 June 2018

The Minister for Agriculture has made consequential changes to the Code of Practice for the Operation of Breeding and Rearing Businesses (2014) following the commencement of new breeding provisions under the Domestic Animals Amendment (Puppy Farms and Pet Shops) Act 2017.

The changes note the new commercial breeding and recreational breeding provisions, including updated qualifications.

Amended breeding code – commenced 1 July 2015

The Minister for Agriculture has taken action to further crack down on illegal puppy and kitten farms.

An amended Code of Practice for the Operation of Breeding and Rearing Businesses (2014) commenced on 1 July 2015. It has been amended to require breeders to obtain a veterinary health check for all female dogs prior to each mating cycle.

In addition, the Code contains minor typographical corrections, and minor amendments to update the Code with respect to Machinery of Government changes and the Primary Industries Legislation Amendment Act 2014.

Copies of the Code are available online.

Breeding and rearing businesses

A dog breeding business is any business that breeds dogs for sale.

Any dog or breeding business with 3 or more fertile female dogs, must register as a Domestic Animal Business with the local council in the municipality that it resides.

Where the breeder is a member of an Applicable Organisation, the proprietor must only register as a Domestic Animal Business with their local council when they have more than 10 fertile female dogs or cats.

Applicable organisation members with 11 or more fertile females must register as a Domestic Animal Business with their local council.

A rearer is an enterprise that is run for profit and carries out the rearing of dogs , and must register as a Domestic Animal Business with their local council.

Breeding and rearing businesses must comply with the mandatory Code of Practice for the Operation of Breeding and Rearing Businesses (2014), which came into effect on 30 October 2014. This Code outlines minimum welfare standards for the housing and management of dogs in breeding and rearing businesses.

It is important that all breeders and rearers familiarise themselves with the requirements of the Code of Practice, along with fact sheets outlining Regulations for Dog Breeders . In addition, breeders and rearer’s must comply with individual local and planning laws within their municipal council.

Breeding Animals with Heritable Defects

All breeders must also be familiar with and comply with the mandatory Code of Practice for the Breeding of Animals with Heritable Defects that Cause Disease.

Contents

Preface

1. Legal requirements

2. Purpose of the code

3. Definitions

4. Heritable Disease Groups

  4.1 Heritable disease caused by a simple dominant defective gene

  4.2 Heritable disease caused by a simple recessive defective gene resulting in severe disease

  4.3 Heritable disease caused by simple recessive gene that may take years to develop symptoms of the disease

  4.4 Heritable disease caused by simple recessive genes that are sex linked or show weak penetrance

  4.5 Heritable disease caused by a simple recessive defective gene that is also dependant on over-riding or modifying genetic effects for full expression of disease.

  4.6 Polygenic based heritable disease

  4.7 Recognised heritable disease for which there are no tests or prediction

5. Heritable Defect Breeding Standards

  5.1 Heritable disease caused by a simple dominant defective gene

  5.2 Heritable disease caused by a simple recessive defective gene resulting in severe disease

  5.3 Heritable disease caused by simple recessive gene that may take years to develop symptoms of the disease

  5.4 Heritable disease caused by simple recessive genes that are sex linked

  5.5 Heritable disease caused by a simple recessive defective gene that is dependant on over-riding or modifying genetic effects for full expression of disease.

  5.6 Polygenic based heritable diseases

  5.7 Recognised Inherited Diseases

6. Approved breeding programs and approved organisations

7. Process for amending the Heritable Defects Schedule of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986

Preface

The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 (‘the Act’) came into force on 20 May 1986 and is administered by the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR). It has the
purpose of protecting animals, encouraging the considerate treatment of animals and improving the level of community awareness about the prevention of cruelty to animals.

This Code of Practice for the Responsible Breeding of Animals with Heritable Defects that cause Disease is made under Section 7 of the Act. It was developed by the Bureau of Animal Welfare in consultation with a working group comprised of persons who have knowledge and expertise in animal welfare, veterinary science, the commercial use
and breeding of animals and the testing, diagnosis and control of heritable diseases in animals, and major stakeholders.

1 Legal Requirements

The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 sets out offences for intentionally or recklessly breeding an animal with a heritable defect that causes disease as listed in
the Schedule (‘the Schedule’) of the Act.

It is a cruelty offence to permit an animal to suffer from a heritable disease.

The code requires that animals with disease caused by a heritable defect must not be disposed of to another person without advice of the animal’s heritable defect status.

The advice provided by the breeder must include:–

  1. Permanent identification details e.g. number of microchip implant, brand or ear tag or tattoo, depending on the accepted method of permanent identification for the species of animal; and
  2. Veterinary certificate with details of the diagnosis linked to that permanent identification.

2 Purpose of the Code

The purpose of the Code is to set standards for the prevention and spread of heritable defects and the expression of disease caused by them.

The Code aims to educate animal breeders how to best minimise or avoid the development of heritable disease in progeny caused by inappropriate selection and
mating of animals with heritable (genetic) defects. It also outlines breeding practices that will assist the reduction of the prevalence of the heritable defect in the animal
population.

The standards set by the Code should be practised by owners and custodians of animals used for breeding that are affected by any heritable defect that causes disease
and must be observed for breeding of animals with heritable (genetic) defects causing the diseases listed the Schedule of the Act.

A person breeding animals in a program that conforms at least to the principles in this code is not considered to be breeding animals recklessly or intentionally as defined as
an offence in Section 15C(1) of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986.

3 Definitions

ACES: AVA-ANKC Australian Canine Eye Scheme, a national certification system conducted by registered veterinary eye specialists to internationally recognised
standards.

Approved Organisation: for any species this is an organisation approved by reference in this Code of Practice in Section 6. Only this organisation may approve breeding programs for that species.

Approved Breeding Program: program developed in consultation with veterinary specialists, geneticists and organisations breeding the species, with support given by their respective professional bodies and associations of members. While the program must meet the standards of this code, there is no constraint on developing a higher
standard of breeding management to reduce the prevalence of defective genes and heritable disease in the breeding population.

Approved collection officers: breed association designated collection officers nominated and approved to collect samples for testing at shows or specific testing days or a veterinary practitioner.

AVA: Australian Veterinary Association.

Veterinary practitioner: means a registered veterinary practitioner.

Affected: refers to the homozygous affected state, where the animal in question is abnormal in both phenotype and genotype and is diseased.

Clear: refers to the homozygous unaffected state, where the animal in question is normal in both phenotype and genotype. This can be proven by testing or evidence that both parents are Clear.

Collie Eye Anomaly: a complex of potentially blinding congenital eye defects, of which choroidal hypoplasia is the simplest and least threatening to vision.

Carrier: (or Normal) refers to the heterozygous unaffected state, where the animal in question is normal in phenotype but abnormal in genotype. For simple autosomal recessive conditions the animal is not diseased. With simple autosomal dominant conditions the Carrier state is diseased.

Desexing: means a scientifically accepted method that permanently prevents reproduction in the species e.g., surgical ovarian hysterectomy or castration, Fallopian tube ablation or vasectomy. An exception for large animals such as livestock might be achieved by distinctively and permanently identifying the animals and preventing
breeding of them with appropriate barriers endorsed by the approved breeding program.

Dominant: a genetic disease that appears when the progeny has received one copy of the defective gene, from either parent.

Heterozygous: possessing two different forms of a particular gene, one inherited from each parent.

Homozygous: possessing two identical forms of a particular gene, one inherited from each parent.

Intentional breeding: is breeding of animals done or made or performed with purpose and intent.

Recessive: a genetic disease that only appears when the progeny has received two copies of the defective gene, one from each parent.

Reckless breeding: is highly unreasonable conduct that is an extreme departure from ordinary care outlined in this Code.

Test: is the recommended method of diagnosing the carrier or affected status of an animal. It may include DNA tests or other tests or physical examinations recommended
by veterinary practitioners and scientists. Some conditions may require additional examinations as required by an approved breeding program e.g. CEA in some dog breeding programs may require an ACES Panellist examination before eight weeks of age. Such programs may require that only approved collection officers collect samples for testing in order to ensure high standards of identification of animals and record keeping. Test results must be recorded and kept by the breeder in a manner that permanently identifies the result to the animal tested.

Unknown: refers to an animal of a breed or cross-breed that is known to be at risk from the condition and the animal has not been tested for it. There is reason to suspect the animal for the condition due to a diagnosis in the progeny or parents. Such animals must be tested before use in a breeding program.

4. Heritable Disease Groups

Breeding programs must consider the effects and ethics of high risk mating combinations that may, based on the principles of genetic inheritance, in theory produce animals with heritable disease. Where such heritable disease has potential to cause severe welfare issues for affected progeny such breeding programs must be justifiable. Affected progeny must be assessed and humanely destroyed if they suffer.

Such animals must not be used for breeding.

Heritable diseases may be grouped by the manner in which they are inherited:

4.1 Dominant diseases only require one defective gene to be present for the disease to be caused i.e. both the heterozygous and homozygous states for the defective gene each develop the disease. This also includes dominant conditions that can only show partially or some conditions that only show in a particular sex. For example:

  • Dogs

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (in those breeds where dominant inheritance has been scientifically established).
Hereditary cataract (in those breeds where dominant inheritance has been scientifically established).

4.2 Simple recessive diseases that result in severe signs of disease in the homozygous state for the defective gene. For example:

  • Dogs

Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis.
Von Willebrand’s Disease type 3.

4.3 Simple recessive diseases that may take years to develop signs of the disease in the homozygous state for the defective gene. For example:

  • Dogs

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (in those breeds affected by the prcd form, also rcd 1,2,3).

Hereditary Cataract (in breeds where a simple recessive mode has been scientifically established).

4.4 Simple recessive diseases that are sex linked or show weak penetrance and limited expression of the disease resulting in only a few affected individuals.
While the following diseases are not listed in the Schedule of the Act some examples of this grouping are Haemophilia A, X-linked PRA type 1, X-linked PRA type 2 (described in crossbred dogs) and goniodysgenesis as an established risk factor for canine glaucoma.

4.5 Simple recessive diseases that are also dependant on over-riding or modifying genetic effects for full expression, before they pose a threat as a debilitating condition. This includes conditions where the vast majority of genetically affected individuals fail to exhibit the full range of clinical signs unless modifying factors are present – factors that
directly influence the degree to which the disease is ultimately expressed.

For example:

  • Dogs

Collie Eye Anomaly.
Von Willebrand’s Disease type 1 and 2.

4.6 Polygenic disease – where more than one gene is involved and environmental effects can add to the severity of the condition. While the following diseases are not listed in the Schedule of the Act they are examples of diseases in this grouping that have widely divergent signs – canine hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia. These are also conditions where simple and/or effective DNA tests are unlikely to be developed.

4.7 Recognised inherited diseases that produce significant potential health risks in small numbers of affected individuals, but where there is no advance warning mechanism offered through the early onset of signs or the availability of a reliable genetic test, to be able to predict the development of debilitating disease in later life. For example:

  • Dogs

Hereditary Cataract (where late onset is characteristic of the condition).

5. Heritable Defect Breeding Standards

5.1 Heritable disease caused by a simple dominant defective gene

Carrier (is affected) = heterozygote (i.e. one clear gene and one defective gene), displays degrees of disease.

Affected = homozygous for heritable defect genes (i.e. two defective genes) displays severe form of disease.

Clear = homozygous for clear genes (i.e. two clear genes) and is free of the disease.

The breeding of animals with the following diseases caused by a heritable defect must be conducted in accordance with the Code.

  • Dogs

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (In those breeds where dominant inheritance has been scientifically established). Hereditary cataract (in those breeds where dominant inheritance has been scientifically established).

Animals with a heritable disease of this type that causes suffering and disability in the animal must not be used for breeding. Where the carrier state will produce lethal outcomes in the progeny they must not be used for breeding.

In the following table breeding of animals with the heritable disease may be permitted but only under the specified conditions and only if approved by a veterinary practitioner as suitable for breeding.

**Testing is required as in practice the unpredictable nature of the process of gene inheritance in these combinations may cause variation in the actual % outcomes per generation.

Parent combination Theoretical status of progeny Heritable disease requirements
Clear x Clear 100% Clear No restriction
Clear x Carrier **
50 % Clear
50 % Carrier
(that may be diseased to some degree)
  1. Progeny must be tested for the heritable defect**.
  2. The severity of the disease in the Carrier progeny must be assessed by a veterinary practitioner and the animal managed in accordance with the instructions of a veterinary practitioner.
  3. A diseased (Carrier) animal’s must not be disposed of to another person without advice of the animals heritable disease status.
  4. A diseased (Carrier) animal must be DE-sexed unless they are to be used in an approved breeding program, must not be permitted by their owner to suffer from their condition and must be under the supervision and monitoring of a veterinary practitioner.
Carrier x Carrier **
25% Clear
50% Carrier (diseased to some degree)
25% Affected (usually seriously diseased)
  1. Breeding prohibited unless as part of an approved breeding program.
  2. All progeny must be tested for the heritable disease. **
  3. The severity of the disease in Affected and Carrier progeny must be assessed by a veterinary practitioner and the animal managed in accordance with the instructions of a veterinary practitioner.
  4. A diseased (Carrier and Affected) animal must not be disposed of to another person without advice of the animal’s heritable disease status.
  5. Diseased (Carrier and Affected) animals must be DE-sexed unless they are to be used in an approved breeding program, must not be permitted by their owner to suffer from their condition and must be under the supervision and monitoring of a veterinary practitioner.
Affected x Clear 100% Carrier (will have a degree of the disease)
  1. Breeding prohibited unless as part of an approved breeding program and only with the purpose of establishing sufficient breeding stock for the breeding program to develop Clear animals.
  2. The severity of the disease in progeny must be assessed by a veterinary practitioner and the animal managed in accordance with the instructions of a veterinary practitioner.
  3. A diseased (Carrier and Affected) animal’s must not be disposed of to another person without advice of the animals’ heritable disease status.
  4. Diseased (Carrier and Affected) animals must be DE-sexed unless they are to be used in an approved breeding program, must not be permitted by their owner to suffer from their condition and must be under the supervision and monitoring of a veterinary practitioner.

Affected x Carrier

and

Affected by Affected

50% Carrier,
50% Affected (all will be diseased to some degree or be seriously diseased)

100% Affected (usually seriously diseased)

  1. Breeding prohibited.
  2. Use of these combination is an offence under the Act.

**Testing is required as in practice the unpredictable nature of the process of gene inheritance in these combinations may cause variation in the actual % outcomes per generation. As carriers may express varying degrees of the heritable disease they must be tested, assessed and monitored by a veterinary practitioner experienced with the disease to determine the impact on the animal.

5.2 Heritable disease caused by a simple recessive defective gene resulting in severe disease

Carrier = heterozygote (i.e. one clear gene and one defective gene) and does not exhibit the disease.

Affected= homozygous for heritable defect genes (i.e. two defective genes) and is affected by the disease.

Clear = homozygous for clear genes (i.e. two clear genes) and is free of the disease.

The breeding of animals with the following diseases caused by a heritable defect must be conducted in accordance with the Code.

  • Dogs

Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis (CL).
Von Willebrand’s disease Type 3.

Parent breeding combinations of animals with a heritable defect of this type that result in a disease that causes suffering and disability in progeny must not be used outside of an approved breeding program and only where the approved organisation believes it to be justifiable in the short term to establish breeding stock that are Clear.

Parent combination Theoretical status of progeny Heritable disease requirements
Clear x Clear 100% Clear No restriction.
Carrier x Clear **
50 % Clear
50 % Carrier (not diseased)
  1. Progeny to be used for breeding purposes must be tested for the heritable defect**.
  2. Progeny should all be tested for the heritable defect.
  3. Carrier animals must be desexed if not to be used for breeding purposes.
Carrier x Carrier **
25% Clear
50% Carrier
25% Affected (diseased)
  1. Breeding not recommended. Must only occur as part of an approved breeding program.
  2. All progeny must be tested for the heritable defect**.
  3. Diseased (Affected) and Carrier progeny must not be disposed of to another person without advice of the animal’s heritable defect status.
  4. Diseased (Affected) and Carrier animals must be DE-sexed if not to be used for breeding purposes.
  5. Diseased animals must not be permitted by their owner to suffer from their condition and must be under the supervision and monitoring of a veterinary practitioner.
Affected x Clear 100% Carrier
  1. Breeding not recommended. Must only occur as part of an approved breeding program and only with the purpose of establishing sufficient breeding stock for the breeding program to develop Clear animals.
  2. Progeny must not be disposed of to another person without advice of the animal’s heritable defect status.
  3. Carrier animals must be DE-sexed unless to be used in an approved breeding program.

Affected x Carrier

and

Affected x Affected

50% Carrier
50% Affected (diseased)

100% Affected (diseased)

  1. Breeding prohibited.
  2. Intentional or reckless use of these combinations is an offence under the Act. Affected (diseased)

**Testing is required as in practice the unpredictable nature of the process of gene inheritance in these combinations may cause variation in the actual % outcomes per generation.

5.3 Heritable disease caused by simple recessive gene that may take years to develop symptoms of the disease

All progeny will initially appear to be unaffected by the disease. Depending on the severity of the disease and time of onset of the breeding program the animal may be bred before it is known they carry the heritable defect.

  • Dogs

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (where affected by the pcrd form, also rcd 1,2,3).
Hereditary Cataract (where a simple recessive mode has been scientifically established).

Parent combination Theoretical status of progeny Heritable disease requirements
Clear x Clear 100% Clear No restriction.
Carrier x Clear **
50 % Clear
50 % Carrier
  1. Progeny to be used for breeding purposes should be tested for the heritable defect**.
  2. All progeny should be tested for the heritable defect.
  3. Carrier animals should be DE-sexed if not to be used for breeding purposes.
Carrier x Carrier **
25% Clear
50% Carrier
25% Affected (may develop disease)
  1. Breeding not recommended. Must only occur as part of an approved breeding program.
  2. All progeny must be tested for the heritable defect.
  3. A diseased (Affected) animal must not be disposed of to another person without advice of the animal’s heritable defect status.
  4. Affected progeny (or any juvenile offspring confirmed as ‘Affected’ on test) should be DE-sexed unless they are to be used in an approved breeding program, must not be permitted by their owner to suffer from their condition if it develops and should be under the supervision, advice and monitoring of a veterinary practitioner.
Affected x Clear 100% Carrier
  1. Breeding not recommended. Should only occur as part of an approved breeding program and only with the purpose of establishing sufficient breeding stock for the breeding program to develop Clear animals.
  2. Progeny must not be disposed of to another person without advice of the animal’s heritable defect status.
  3. Carrier animals should be DE-sexed unless to be used in an approved breeding program.

Affected x Carrier

and

Affected x Affected

50% Carrier
50% Affected (may develop the disease)

100% Affected (may develop the disease)

  1. Breeding prohibited.
  2. Intentional or reckless use of these combinations is an offence under the Act.
  3. Under exceptional circumstances the Affected x Carrier combination may occur as part of an approved breeding program but only with the purpose of establishing sufficient breeding stock for the breeding program to develop Clear animals. Progeny must not be disposed of to another person without advice of the animal’s heritable defect status.

**Testing is required as in practice the unpredictable nature of the process of gene inheritance in these combinations may cause the actual % outcomes per generation to vary from the theoretical outcomes.

5.4 Heritable disease caused by simple recessive genes that are sex linked (or show weak penetrance or limited expression resulting in only a few affected individuals).

See section 4.4. Advice from a veterinary practitioner and approved organisation should be sought before considering a breeding program.

5.5 Heritable disease caused by a simple recessive defective gene that is dependant on over-riding or modifying genetic effects for full expression of disease.

This includes conditions where the vast majority of genetically affected individuals do not exhibit the full range of clinical signs of the disease unless modifying factors are present i.e. factors that directly influence the degree to which the disease is ultimately expressed. All progeny may initially appear to be unaffected by the disease.

  • Dogs

Collie Eye Anomaly.
Von Willebrand’s Disease type 1 and 2.

Parent combination Theoretical status of progeny Heritable disease requirements
Clear x Clear 100% Clear No restriction.
Carrier x Clear 50 % Clear
50 % Carrier
  1. Progeny to be used for breeding purposes should be tested for the heritable defect**.
  2. All progeny should be tested for the heritable defect.
  3. Carrier animals should be DE-sexed if not to be used for breeding purposes.
Carrier x Carrier **
25% Clear
50% Carrier
25% Affected (may develop disease)
  1. Not recommended. Should only occur as part of an approved breeding program.
  2. All progeny should be tested for the heritable defect.
  3. Affected (may develop disease) animals must not be disposed of to another person without advice of the animal’s heritable defect status.
  4. Carrier animals should be DE-sexed if not to be used for breeding.
  5. Affected (may develop disease) should be DE-sexed if not to be used for breeding, must not be permitted to suffer from their condition by their owner if it develops and must be under the supervision, advice and monitoring of a veterinary practitioner if it does.
Affected x Clear 100% Carrier
  1. Must only occur as part of an approved breeding program.
  2. Carrier animals should be DE-sexed if not to be used in a breeding program.

Affected x Carrier

and

Affected x Affected

50% Carrier
50% Affected (may develop the disease)

100% Affected (may develop the disease)

  1. Prohibited (see exception).
  2. Intentional or reckless use of these combinations outside of an approved breeding program is an offence under the Act.
  3. The Affected x Carrier combination may occur but only as part of an approved breeding program and only with the purpose of establishing sufficient breeding stock for the breeding program to develop Clear animals. Affected progeny must not be disposed of to another person without advice of the animal’s heritable defect status.

**Testing is required as in practice the unpredictable nature of the process of gene inheritance in these combinations may cause variation in the actual % outcomes per generation.

5.6 Polygenic based heritable diseases

See section 4.6.

Generally, where these conditions affect large numbers of the breed, broad-based surveillance and assessment schemes have been developed. The worst affected individuals should be removed from the breeding population before they reach maturity. Development of reliable statistical results such as sire’s statistics can further help breeds lower the incidence and severity of the disease. These control schemes have been shown to work over the longer term, by raising the standard.

5.7 Recognised Inherited Diseases that produce significant health risks in small numbers of affected individuals, where there is no advance warning mechanism offered through the early onset of signs or the availability of a reliable genetic test. Some of these diseases are recognised as ‘breed predilections’, i.e. a higher than normal incidence may be observed within that breed. Many of these conditions appear unpredictably in the older animal, with no apparent inheritance pattern.

It may be impossible to establish whether or not a debilitating condition that arises at mature age is controlled by inherited factors at all, and is therefore able to be predicted, selected against or detected in advance by an established genetic test.

General awareness of a possible breed predilection is the best protection that can be issued against these conditions in the longer term. Purchasers of animals likely to develop the disease should consider this when making their selection of an animal to keep or breed.

  • Dogs

Hereditary Cataract (where late onset is characteristic of the condition).

6. Approved breeding programs and approved organisations

6.1 Approved breeding programs must be reviewed every 3 years by the approved organisation to evaluate progress in reducing the prevalence of the heritable defect and the disease it causes and to ensure that there is compliance by its members with this Code.

6.2 A breeder must be a member of an approved organisation to undertake its approved breeding program.

6.3 Organisations should aspire to develop breeding programs that reduce the prevalence of the heritable defect in their breeding stock.

6.4 Approved Organisations.

Species Approved organisation
Cats and dogs An ‘applicable organisation’ approved by the Minister for Agriculture in accordance with the Domestic (Feral and Nuisance) Animals Act 1994.
Other species A recognised professional body or association of breeders of the species.

7. Process for amending the Heritable Defects Schedule of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986

Recommendations to amend the Schedule may be made by approved organisations to the Minister. Submissions should provide evidence of consultation with veterinary specialists, geneticists and the approved organisation with support given by their respective professional bodies and associations of members.

Diseases to be listed should:

  1. Be established, well-researched inherited diseases or defects known to be present in a local breed population (or likely to be imported from overseas); and
  2. Have sufficient researched information to allow the condition to be correctly diagnosed and categorised.

In making a recommendation to the Minister the following information must be provided:

  1. The severity of the disease;
  2. The mode of inheritance (dominant, simple recessive, etc);
  3. The proportion of ‘affected’, ‘carrier’, and ‘clear’ individuals within the breed;
  4. The number of diseases being simultaneously tested/screened within a breed;
  5. Ease of access to a range of reliable and repeatable screening methods;
  6. There should be a reliable test to diagnose the disease that is considered cost effective by the approved breeding program; and
  7. Summary of consultation comments with breeders, veterinary specialists, geneticists and members of the approved organisation affected by the proposed amendment.

Where the number of affected individuals is very low, few affected animals will be bred from nor are needed in the gene pool for the breed. They should be prevented from breeding. When the percentage of affected and carriers is high, more time will be needed to manage the risk of producing affected individuals, so that other pressures present in any ‘closed’ population do not force the emergence of hitherto hidden diseases, as a result of disproportionate restrictions to the existing gene pool.

The more diseases being tested for or screened, the slower the overall progress will be in a breeding program. Some individuals may be shown to be genetically clear for one or two conditions under test, yet be affected by a third, perhaps milder condition.

RSPCA enforcement of the Breeding Code

To complement the strengthening of the breeding code, the RSPCA receives additional funding to help enforce these regulations across Victoria.

Six million dollars was allocated, over four years, to enable the RSPCA to police the code and provide health care, rehabilitation and re-homing services for seized animals.

This will help the RSPCA to identify and shut down illegal businesses when they are selling cats and dogs.

 

Legal requirements for dog owners

The law aims to protect animals from neglect and cruelty as well as protecting the community from animals becoming a nuisance or danger.

If you don’t comply with legal requirements, such as micro-chipping, registration and confinement of dogs to your property, you can be fined.

Check with your council to see if they have any local laws that may require dogs to be desexed, or any other local laws that may apply to dog ownership.

Under animal cruelty legislation, if you mistreat or fail to properly care for your dog you can be prosecuted and face fines, jail or a ban on owning an animal.

The use of electronic collars (such as Anti-Bark, remote training and containment collars) is strictly regulated.

It is illegal to tail dock, ear crop or debark dogs. You can find out more by reading the information about Prohibited Procedures on Dogs.

There are also laws regulating dogs on moving vehicles and the removal of dog poo in public places.

Permits are required when there are more than a certain number of cats or dogs kept in a household. This number is set by your local council, so you need to check with them what the limit is.

Note: Where the owner of a dog is under the age of 18 years, the parent or guardian of that owner will be deemed the legal owner of the dog and subject to any penalties/prosecutions.

Micro-chipping and registration of your dog

Micro-chipping and registering pets greatly improves their chances of being returned to you if they become lost.

All dogs three months of age and over must be registered with the local council and existing registrations must be renewed by 10 April each year.

If being registered for the first time, dogs must be micro-chipped prior to registration.

Your dog’s council registration tag should be attached to a collar, adjusted so you are able to fit two fingers comfortably between your dog’s collar and its neck.

Find out more about pet registration and micro-chipping.

Confinement of dogs to the property

Legally, you are required to securely confine your dog to the property. This means your yard must have a closed gate and an escape proof fence that your dog cannot jump, get under or through. Visitors must also have safe access to your front door without being stopped by your dog. If your dog could get through your gates or fencing you can be fined even if he/she doesn’t actually leave your property.

If securely confined your dog will be safe from traffic injuries or fights with other dogs. He/she will also be prevented from wandering and becoming lost.

You can read more about confinement of dogs and prevention of dog attacks in public places.

Health and welfare

Dog owners have a legal ‘Duty of Care’ to protect the welfare of their pets.

The Code of Practice for the Private Keeping of Dogs provides an overview of basic dog welfare and health requirements.

Prohibited procedures on dogs

 

Download a PDF version of this document: Information Sheet (PDF – 189.3 KB)

The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 (the Act) protects the welfare of all animals in Victoria.

On 12 December 2007 amendments were introduced into the Act that altered how a range of prohibited procedures under the Act and regulations were dealt with. All existing offences relating to specific procedures (on a range of animal species) were consolidated together under an offence to conduct a prohibited procedure.

Legislation summary

Prohibited procedures relating to dogs are:

  • ear cropping
  • debarking
  • tail docking

Prohibited procedures can only be performed in Victoria by a registered veterinary practitioner for therapeutic reasons or, in the case of debarking, in accordance with the code of practice for the debarking of dogs.

It is an offence for any other person to conduct a prohibited procedure on an animal.

At the same time as the prohibited procedures offence was introduced, two new offences relating to prohibited procedures were also introduced into the Act.

These related offences set out that:

  • the owner or person in charge of an animal must not allow a prohibited procedure to be conducted on an animal; and
  • the owner or person in charge of an animal cannot show or exhibit an animal, or allow an animal to be shown or exhibited, where the animal has had a prohibited procedure conducted illegally on it.

Provisions have been built into the offence for showing or exhibiting an animal to take into consideration animals from other Australian states and territories or imported animals that have had the procedure legally performed.

However, these provisions do not allow an animal born or residing in Victoria to be taken into another state or territory to have a procedure conducted on them to avoid Victoria’s legislation and to still be shown or exhibited.

Further information and details of these provisions are detailed in the Frequently Asked Questions section.

Frequently asked questions

What is meant by Person in Charge?

“Person in charge of” in relation to an animal includes:

  • a person who has the animal in their possession or custody, or under the person’s care, control or supervision; and
  • any employee or agent of the owner of the animal if a person referred to in the preceding point is bound to comply with the directions of that employee or agent in respect of the animal.

When can debarking be carried out?

Debarking of dogs can only be carried out in accordance with the Code of Practice for the Debarking of Dogs and the procedure must be conducted by a registered veterinary practitioner.

What are the main requirements of the Code of Practice for the Debarking of Dogs?

A dog may only be debarked if it is creating a public nuisance due to persistent barking that other reasonable methods have not been able to resolve. You must read the entire code of practice and follow its requirements before the procedure is undertaken.

A summary of the main requirements of the code is provided below:

  • An owner who intends to have a dog debarked because it is creating a public nuisance must first complete a Statutory Declaration to the effect that the dog is a public nuisance because of its persistent barking and that every reasonable effort has been made to discourage the dog from barking by considerate care, training and management. The owner is to further declare that the only alternative to debarking the dog is to have it destroyed.
  • The owner must also obtain, from the Chief Executive Officer (or delegate) of the Council of the Municipal District in which the dog is registered, a written declaration which certifies that:
    • there have been written complaints from two or more neighbouring residences or, in isolated areas, two written complaints from the same residence, submitted to the Municipal offices; and
    • an authorised officer of the Municipality has investigated the complaints and has confirmed that reasonable efforts by the owner have failed to discourage the dog from persistently barking.
  • The registered veterinary practitioner who is to perform the debarking operation is required to notify the Bureau of Animal Welfare within seven days of conducting the procedure.

When can tail docking or ear cropping be carried out on a dog?

Tail docking or ear cropping can only be carried out in Victoria by a registered veterinary practitioner for therapeutic reasons (for the health or welfare of the animal).

What is meant by docking?

Docking (in relation to the tail of a dog) means the amputation, removal or shortening of the tail, other than the shortening of the tail hairs.

My dog was docked/debarked/ear cropped prior to these amendments, can I still show it?

Yes, provided the procedure was done prior to 12 December 2007. You may be asked to provide evidence that the procedure was done before this date.

For any docked, debarked or ear cropped dog born after the commencement of these amendments or on which a prohibited procedure was done after this time, the owner or person in charge will need to demonstrate that the procedure was legally undertaken, in order for the dog to be shown or exhibited.

What about dogs brought in from interstate or overseas?

If a dog has not previously resided in Victoria and is already docked, debarked or ear cropped and then brought in from interstate or overseas, the dog is able to be shown provided the procedure was done in accordance with the legislation of the jurisdiction (country/state/territory) in which the procedure was carried out. The dog cannot have resided in Victoria prior to the procedure being done in another jurisdiction.

If the procedure was carried out on the dog in Australia, a veterinary certificate stating that the procedure was done in accordance with the law of the relevant jurisdiction will allow the animal to be shown.

In relation to imported dogs, the importation or supporting documentation needs to show that the procedure was undertaken prior to importation and that it was done legally according to the laws of the jurisdiction in which the procedure was carried out.

What about a dog taken out of Victoria into another state or territory to have a procedure that is prohibited in Victoria undertaken in that state/territory?

 

The exemption for showing or exhibiting of a dog where the procedure was done legally in another state or territory only applies for dogs that live outside of Victoria and are not, or have not previously, resided in Victoria. This means you cannot take a dog out of Victoria to have a procedure done and then use that exemption to show or exhibit the dog.

Note: Many other states also regulate these procedures and by taking a dog interstate to avoid Victorian laws you may actually be committing an offence in those other states as well as be unable to show or exhibit the dog in Victoria.

Why has the offence to show or exhibit a dog which has had a prohibited procedure been introduced?

This offence has been introduced as part of wider legislation amendment relating to prohibited procedures, under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.

This amendment combines all current procedure-based offences, from both the Act and regulations, into one consistent offence for conducting a prohibited procedure.

Prior to this, a number of prohibited procedures were being carried out despite the individual offences, with some animals being shown or exhibited with the owner or person in charge benefiting from having the procedure illegally done on the animal.

This offence means that only those who comply with the laws of Victoria (or other jurisdictions) will be able to show or exhibit their animals.

What are the penalties associated with these offences?

Upon being found guilty, fines of up to 246 penalty units or 12 months imprisonment apply if:

  • a person (other than a vet) conducts a prohibited procedure on an animal
  • if a vet conducts a prohibited procedure where it is not considered reasonably necessary for therapeutic purposes (or for debarking done in accordance with the relevant code).

If a person in charge of an animal allows a prohibited procedure (i.e. docking) to be done on the animal (ie by another person) fines of up to 120 penalty units or 12 months imprisonment apply.

If a person intentionally damages a dog or a pup’s tail or ears they are committing an offence under the Act and are liable for a fine of up to 492 penalty units or 24 months imprisonment.

If a person in Victoria shows or exhibits a dog that was illegally tail docked, debarked or ear cropped, a penalty up to 20 penalty units applies.

These fines apply to any prohibited procedure that is carried out.

Animal Welfare – It’s your Duty to Care!

Confine your dog

 

All dogs must be securely confined to their property.

Dogs – territorial by nature

A dog of any size or breed can become aggressive when defending its territory. Even a friendly dog may guard the area on or around its property, especially when you are not present.

Dog attacks on people and other animals are reported to local councils each day.

Most dog attacks in public places occur on the footpath or road in front of the attacking dog’s property.

Confining dogs to the property would prevent eighty percent of dog attacks in public places!

Legal requirements for dog owners

Note: Where the owner of a dog is under the age of 18 years, the parent or guardian of that owner will be deemed the legal owner of the dog and subject to any penalties/prosecutions.

Under the Domestic Animals Act 1994, all dog owners must securely confine dogs to the property. This means your yard must have a closed gate, and an escape-proof fence that your dog cannot jump, get under or through.

Legally, visitors must also have safe access to your front door, without being stopped by your dog.

If your dog could get through your gates or fencing, you can be fined even if it doesn’t actually leave your property.

Magistrates have the power to require owners of pets that have escaped to carry out works to ensure this does not happen again. To make sure your dog is properly confined, keep it in the backyard behind a locked gate.

Legal consequences if your dog rushes at or chases someone

If your dog rushes at or chases someone, you could be fined, and your local council can declare your dog to be a ‘menacing dog’. This means you will have to microchip it and you may have to leash and muzzle it in public.

If you do not comply with these requirements, council can then declare your dog to be a ‘dangerous dog’. There are very strict controls on the housing, exercise and ownership of dangerous dogs, and dangerous dogs must be desexed.

Legal consequences in the event of an attack on a person or another animal

You are liable if your dog attacks a person or animal outside your property, or someone trying to get to your front door. You are also liable if your dog attacks someone who has been invited onto your property.

An attack by your dog can lead to court action. If convicted, owners can face substantial fines. This is in addition to damages, which may potentially be thousands of dollars. In such situations, dogs are often ordered to be destroyed or declared dangerous. Strict ownership controls are imposed on dangerous dogs for the rest of their lives.

Additional laws apply to owners of restricted breed, dangerous, guard, menacing or attack trained dogs. Owners of these types of dogs can be jailed for up to 10 years if their dog kills someone, or for up to 5 years if their dog endangers someone’s life.

Other reasons to confine your dog in the backyard

Apart from the legal consequences, an attack can be very distressing for all involved. This is particularly the case if the victim is a child or is badly injured.

If securely confined, your dog will be safe from traffic injuries or fights with other dogs. It will also be prevented from wandering and becoming lost.

It’s easy to prevent most dog attacks in public places, just by confining dogs. That’s good news for the reputation of our pets and for responsible dog owners.

So for the safety of your dog and everyone else, remember – confine your dog. Backyard is best!

For more information or advice

Call your local council if you have questions about your rights and responsibilities as a dog owner. Your council will also deal with concerns about wandering or nuisance dogs.

Socialisation and exercise

Confinement without exercise and socialisation can lead to boredom, health issues or nuisance behaviour.

Read more information and tips on ensuring your dog is adequately socialised and exercised.

Dog desexing

If you aren’t going to breed from your dog, have him/her desexed.

Thousands of healthy dogs are euthanased (put to sleep) each year in Australia. This is because not enough homes can be found for them – we have an ‘over supply’ of dogs.

Many dogs are bred by accident, because owners don’t get around to desexing them.

You are less likely to forget to desex your dog if you have it done as soon as the dog is purchased or obtained.

In general, dogs can safely be desexed from three months of age. Desexing at a younger age can be less stressful for puppies than it would be for older dogs, and they may recover more quickly.

Along with helping to prevent dog overpopulation, there are many other benefits of desexing dogs. Desexed dogs can be better behaved and less likely to roam. Desexing pets can also prevent them from getting certain types of cancer.

Your vet can give you further guidance on desexing your puppy/dog.

Pet-Care Practices Research Results and the Welfare Needs of Dogs

Environment

What dogs need The reality

Their own bed, in a quiet, draught-free and dry location. A bed indoors provides much better protection from extremes of heat and cold, compared to an outdoor kennel.

Dogs are also social ‘pack’ animals, and are happiest when near their family. For this reason, at all times of the day, dogs should spend as much time as possible in the company of other dogs, and/or indoors with the family.

28 per cent of dogs spend the majority of time outside.

Two per cent of these are tied up or tethered.

13 per cent of dogs are provided with inadequate shelter when outdoors.

Three per cent of dogs sleeping outdoors were in the open without a kennel.

To be safely confined to their owner’s property. This means your yard must have a closed gate, and an escape-proof fence that your dog cannot jump, get under or through. If securely confined, your dog will be safe from traffic injuries or fights with other dogs. He/she will also be prevented from wandering and becoming lost. 26 per cent of owners do not adequately confine their dogs to the property.

Diet

What dogs need The Reality

A complete balanced diet, which is nutritionally balanced. Commercially prepared food can be easier to feed than a homemade diet, as it is not as easy to achieve the correct balance of nutrients if you make your dog’s diet yourself.

Follow feeding instructions on the packet carefully, to avoid overfeeding.

38 per cent of owners report feeding their dog kitchen scraps.

16 per cent of owners report that food is always available for their dog.

A healthy body condition (shape and weight) – neither over or underweight. Research suggests that up to 40 per cent of dogs are overweight or obese. This could mean that dog owners are unaware of what an ideal dog shape looks like.
Only occasional treats (for instance, for training purposes). If your dog is overweight, you might be surprised just how much the treats are contributing to his/her weight problem. Avoid fatty treats such as cheese, and try lower calorie alternatives (these are commercially available, or you can use green beans or carrot sticks). 48 per cent of owners feed their dog a treat at least once a day.

Behaviour

What dogs need The Reality

Socialisation – it’s particularly important to socialise puppies in their first 12 weeks of life. This means gradually allowing them to experience everyday sights and sounds, and meet people and other animals. Your local vet may run ‘puppy preschool’ socialisation classes.

Even older dogs benefit from socialisation and being exposed to lots of positive experiences.

Seven per cent of owners report their dog is not very well socialised, or not socialised at all.

62 per cent of dogs did not attend ‘puppy preschool’.

Training to ensure your dog behaves appropriately and safely. Training is a great way to keep your dog’s mind active, and help you to understand each other. Always use kind and effective methods of training. If you need help, ask your vet, local council, animal shelter or dog club/association for advice, or look under ‘Dog training’ in the Yellow Pages.

Owners should seek professional advice if their dog has any behavioural problems. Many problems such as digging and barking arise because dogs are restless and bored. Often these problems can be solved simply by giving dogs more exercise.

Six per cent of owners report their dog is not trained.

49 per cent of dogs have a fear of loud noises

16 per cent display aggression

30 per cent have separation anxiety

15 per cent engage in destructive behaviours

15 per cent urinate or defecate indoors

35 per cent bark excessively, and

35 per cent display anxious behaviours.

Daily exercise. Dogs have evolved to spend much of their day migrating with their pack. The ‘need’ to walk is hardwired into every dog’s brain. Some dogs require longer or more regular walks than others. But all dogs should spend some time each day outside the property with you.

It does not matter if you have a large property – to a dog, this is still just a very big kennel behind walls! It is not natural for dogs to spend all their time indoors or in the yard – they need to connect with the world and be out in it.

Walking your dog through the streets or park allows them to get to know their ‘territory’, and keeps them physically and mentally healthy. It is also an important way for your dog to bond with you.

Energetic dogs may also require some time running off leash (check with your council about the location of leash free parks in your area).

Only 37 per cent of owners take their dogs on a walk daily.

34 per cent of dogs are taken for walks several times per week.

13 per cent of dogs are walked once a week.

Seven per cent of dogs are walked several times per month.

10 per cent of dogs are walked rarely or never.

Active supervision when around young children – both for the safety of children and dogs. Children, particularly those aged 0-4 years old, are most at risk of serious dog bite injuries. Five per cent of owners don’t properly supervise their dogs when interacting with children.

Companionship

What dogs need The Reality

Plenty of time with the family. Dogs are highly social animals, who shouldn’t be left alone for more than four hours per day. Being left alone for long periods each day makes dogs lonely, distressed and bored. This can lead to many behavioural problems. Dogs need the company of people or other dogs in order to stay happy and healthy.

If dogs must be left alone for long periods, it is important to provide them with opportunities for mental stimulation (e.g. toys, puzzles, food treats, TV/radio left on). You can also arrange visits from a dog walker or family member or friend.

Consider getting a second dog for company, if your lifestyle and budget allows it (and ensure you understand how to safely introduce a new dog to the household).

10 per cent of owners only interact with their dogs once per day, with another two per cent interacting with dogs even less than once per day.

Eight per cent of dogs are regularly left alone for more than 12 hours at a time. Another 15 per cent are regularly left alone for eight to 12 hours.

39 per cent of dogs have no other animals to keep them company while owners are out.

Proper holiday care. This means arranging care for your dog in your home (with a live in house sitter), or taking him/her to a council registered boarding kennel. Having someone drop in to feed your dog once or twice a day does not provide your dog with sufficient company and care.

Nine per cent of owners just leave food and water out for their dog when they go away overnight.

Another two per cent do not make any special arrangements at all.

Health

What dogs need The Reality
Care taken to keep poisons and toxic plants away from dogs. In addition, some human foods are toxic to dogs, for instance, chocolate, grapes and sultanas. Cooked bones can splinter when ingested, and cause significant injury to your dog.

One per cent of owners report they don’t take care to keep hazardous items out of reach of their dog.

Three per cent of owners feed their dog chocolate as a treat, and another three per cent feed them grapes. Seventeen per cent of owners feed their dogs cooked bones as a treat.

Safety when travelling. When travelling with dogs, use a harness to keep your dog secure in the car. In the event of an accident, a harness will prevent him/her from being thrown about, or from, the car. This will prevent injury to your dog, and to other passengers.

Don’t leave your dog unattended in a car, even with the windows open. Cars can heat up quickly on even mild days.

If the dog is on the back of a ute, truck or trailer ensure he/she is tied on so he/she can’t fall off.
Carry water with you to provide your dog with a drink.

Don’t transport your dog in an enclosed boot (such as a sedan boot).

53 per cent of dogs are either unrestrained or restrained only by being held while travelling.
Routine health care. Along with prompt veterinary care for illness or injury, dogs also need preventative health care, in order to live a long and happy life. This includes regular vaccinations, worming, flea treatments and dental care (e.g. through dental chews or brushing).

10 per cent of owners haven’t taken their dog to the vet for a health check in the past 12 months.

15 per cent of dogs have not been vaccinated against common diseases.

Six per cent of dogs are not treated for fleas or other external parasites.

Seven per cent of dogs are not treated for intestinal worms.

Four per cent of owners do nothing to maintain their dog’s dental health.

Identification. To enable the return of a lost dog to its owner, all dogs three months of age and over must be registered with the local council. All dogs being registered for the first time must also be permanently identified with a microchip. Five per cent of owners have lost a dog in the past five years, that was unable to be found.
Desexing. Dogs not intended for breeding should be desexed. This can safely be done from three months of age. Desexing can prevent certain health problems, such as some types of cancer. It can also prevent the development certain problem behaviours. 18 per cent of dogs are not desexed.

Grooming. All dogs need regular grooming, but long-haired dogs need more coat care than short-haired dogs.

A long-haired dog should be combed and brushed once a day while a dog with short hair will usually only need brushing twice a week. Get a brush and comb that are suited to the hair type of your dog.

Some dogs with ‘wool’ type coats, that grow continuously, will also require regular clipping.

Four per cent of dogs are never groomed, and another 23 per cent are groomed less than once a month.

Electronic collars

The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Regulations 2008 set out when and how electronic collars can be used, sold, hired or supplied for use on animals in Victoria.

Electronic collars are defined in the regulations as an animal collar that is designed to be capable of imparting an electric shock to an animal. This does not include citronella type collars.

Electronic collars can only be used on:

  • dogs (for  the purposes of remote training, anti-bark training or confinement)
  • cats (for confinement purposes only); and
  • cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, camels, alpacas and llamas but solely for research purposes.

They cannot be used on any other species.

Livestock

Legislation relating to the sale of electronic collars on livestock in Victoria

Cats and Dogs

Only authorised collars can be used on cats and dogs.

Authorised electronic collars are split into two categories:

  • containment systems – can be used on dogs and cats.
  • remote training and anti-bark type collars – can be used on dogs only

Conditions of use and sale, hire or supply of electronic collars

The regulations also set out a number of conditions for the use of electronic collars on dogs, cats and specified livestock species as well as the requirements for suppliers, sellers and hirers of electronic collars.

These legislative requirements are explained in three information sheets which can be viewed via the links below.

These information sheets have been developed for use by sellers, hirers, and suppliers of authorised electronic collars to provide to those purchasing, hiring, or receiving these collars to enable them to meet their requirements for notification under regulation 24(2) and 24 (3).

Regulation 24(2) requires that purchasers are informed in writing of the legal requirements of use of authorised collars for dogs and cats in Victoria.

Failure to comply with the requirements of the Regulations can result in either an infringement notice or prosecution in a court of law with a maximum penalty of 10 penalty units (approximately $1612*).

(*based on 18/19 penalty unit value of 161.19, note penalty unit value is indexed and changes annually

Anti-bark and Remote Training Collars

Legal requirements for the use of electronic collars: Anti-bark and Remote Training Collars

An electronic collar is an animal collar that is designed to be capable of imparting an electric shock to an animal.

People using electronic collars must comply with legal requirements under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Regulations 2008.

This fact sheet outlines the legal requirements relating to two types of electronic collars – ‘anti-bark collars’, and ‘remote training collars’ for dogs.

Legal requirements relating to the use of electronic ‘containment collars’ (worn by cats or dogs as part of a containment system) are covered in a separate fact sheet.

General legal requirements relating to the use of electronic collars

You must not use an electronic collar on an animal that is not a dog or cat.

You must only use authorised electronic collars on dogs and cats. In relation to dogs, authorised electronic collars mean a ‘remote training collar’, an ‘anti-bark collar’, or a ‘containment collar’. In relation to cats, authorised electronic collars mean a ‘containment collar’.

You must not use an authorised electronic collar unless:

  • A veterinary practitioner has examined the physical health and temperament of the dog or cat and reasonably believes that the dog or cat is suitable to have an authorised electronic collar used on it; and
  • The dog or cat is over 6 months of age; and
  • A collar is not left on the dog or cat for more than 12 hours in any 24 hour period; and
  • The use is in accordance with any instructions for use of the collar provided by the manufacturer; and
  • The dog or cat is introduced to the use of the collar in accordance with a training program that complies with the Code of Practice for Training Dogs and Cats to Wear Electronic Collars, made under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986; and
  • The collar complies with the following specifications1: a) the power of the collar must not exceed either 15 milliamps root mean square or 100 milliamps single pulse with a maximum duration of 3 milliamps per second; and b) the length of the stimulation period must be limited by an automatic safety cut-out; and c) the collar must provide for variable levels of static stimulation; and
  • The collar contacts have safe, rounded points1; and
  • The distance between the collar contact points does not exceed 60 millimetres1.

Specific legal requirements relating to anti-bark and remote training collars for dogs

An anti-bark collar means an electronic collar designed to modify barking behaviour in dogs, and that is activated by a dog’s bark.

A remote training collar means an electronic collar that is designed to be worn by an animal to assist in modification of the animal’s behaviour, and that is activated by a person through a transmitter.

You must not put a remote training collar or anti-bark collar on a dog unless you are:

  • A veterinary practitioner or a qualified dog trainer; or
  • Acting under the supervision and written instructions of a veterinary practitioner or a qualified dog trainer.

If you are acting under the supervision and written instructions of a veterinary practitioner or a qualified dog trainer, they must review the use of the collar:

  • Within 6 months of the initial physical health and temperament assessment of the dog, (i.e. the assessment that was done to confirm the suitability of using an electronic collar on the animal, as required by the Code of Practice for Training Dogs and Cats to Wear Electronic Collars, made under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986); and
  • At least every 12 months after the first review.

Note that ‘qualified dog trainer’ is defined as “a person who meets the requirements of the regulation 49(2) of the Domestic Animals Regulations 2005”.

More information

Contact the Customer Service Centre on 136 186, or visit our Animal Welfare section.

Dogs on moving vehicles

When travelling with dogs it is the owner or custodian’s duty to ensure the animal is transported appropriately and provided with its essential needs, including food, water, protection from heat or cold and a safe position on the vehicle.

What are the legal obligations of travelling with dogs in cars?

It is illegal to put dogs in the boot of a sedan type car. Dogs can travel in the cabin of the car or behind a cargo barrier in the back of wagon / SUV type vehicles. If on the back of a Ute or trailer they must be appropriately tethered or caged.

When travelling, dogs must be provided with adequate ventilation. Containers must have multiple ventilation holes on at least three sides of the container.

Can dogs suffer from heat stress?

Yes, dogs in vehicles and on the back of vehicles can suffer from heat stress and exhaustion during the warmer months of the year. Dogs can dehydrate or even die from heat stress. The interior of vehicles can heat up quickly causing heat stress and potential death to dogs. Dogs must not be left unattended in cars, even with the windows open.

Dogs on Utes need extra care in the hot weather. If using a metal cage to transport dogs, ensure it has a roof to provide shade, and that the sides are well ventilated (e.g. meshed rather than solid material). It is also advisable to cover metal floors of cages (and if tethering, the tray floor) with a surface such as rubber, as metal can heat up quickly and burn dogs’ paws. In addition, ensure the cage is the right size to prevent cramping and overcrowding. And of course, when stationary, the vehicle should be parked in the shade, dogs should not be left in the cabin of the Ute, and they should be left with water.

Travelling with dogs on the back of vehicles

The law in Victoria requires that dogs on utes are restrained either via a tether or cage, so that the dog cannot fall off or be injured when the vehicle moves. The only exception is for dogs that are actively working livestock.

What are the dangers of travelling with dogs on Utes?

Many dogs nation-wide are killed or injured from travelling on the back of open and moving vehicles each year.

Common causes of injury are:

  • dogs falling off the back of the vehicle whilst it is moving
  • dogs being struck by oncoming or passing vehicles
  • dogs being dragged alongside moving vehicles
  • dogs attempting to jump from moving vehicles.

How can these dangers be prevented?

If a lead or chain is used to secure a dog, it must be long enough to allow the dog to sit and lie down but short enough to ensure the dog can not reach the sides of the vehicle, get onto the cabin or harass passers-by when the vehicle is parked. Long tethers can be more dangerous than none at all; if the dog does fall off the vehicle it may be dragged or strangled.

It is also important to use swivels to attach the tether to both the vehicle and the dog’s collar to prevent the chain from tangling. Never use twine, thin rope or similar materials as these can cause injuries if the dog becomes tangled in the tether.

If using a cage, maximise the dog’s safety and comfort by ensuring the cage is the right size to prevent cramping and overcrowding, well covered to provide shelter from sun, wind and rain and placed directly behind the cabin to minimise exposure to dust and wind.

Travelling safely with dogs inside vehicles

For best practice, it is recommended that dogs travel in the cabin of the vehicle and are kept either on the backseat in a restraining device or in the open cargo area of a wagon type vehicle behind a cargo barrier.

Dogs need to be adequately restrained when travelling inside a vehicle for the safety of both the dog and human passengers. Unrestrained dogs can cause accidents and should never be allowed in the vicinity of the driver. In the case of an accident, an unrestrained dog may become a projectile and can damage itself and / or the occupants of the vehicle.

Dogs should not be allowed to travel with their head out of the car window; particles of dirt can enter a dog’s eyes, ears and nose, causing injury or infection.

If going on a long trip carry dog food, water and a leash and stop regularly to allow the dog some exercise and a toilet break.

Remember, if you love your dog look after it and restrain it when travelling!

The Victorian Code of Practice for the Private Keeping of Dogs contains more information on travelling safely with dogs.

Domestic animal business registration

Domestic Animal Businesses must be registered with their local council.

All Domestic Animal Businesses must register with their local council. Existing registrations must be renewed by 10 April each year. Businesses can be fined for not complying.

Under current legislation, local council has the authority to refuse registration of a business if they fail to comply with the legislation and appropriate mandatory code of practice.

In addition, local council have the authority to set special conditions on the registration of any domestic animal business.

Domestic animal businesses may or may not be required to register individual animals as well.

Owners of domestic animal breeding businesses must register the business and each animal belonging to the business over three months of age.

Twenty dollars from each domestic animal business registration is levied for state government programs. This money is used to fund domestic animal education programs and campaigns and provides support to pet owners and local government in ensuring responsible pet ownership.

For more information about registration fees and requirements, contact your local council.

.We have a page on our website find your code , we update this page as we are notified with any changes, at minimum all members are required to meet these standard, follow guidelines and all instructions issued by their local state COP’S.

The AAPDB Inc does not support puppy farms and welcome all changes put in place to stamp out illegal puppy farms. If you are found to be in breach of any COP your membership will be terminated.