Companion Animals Breeding Standards

The Companion Animals Breeding Practices (CABP) Joint Select Committee was established in May 2015 at the request of the Minister for Primary Industries, to review and investigate companion animal breeding practices in NSW.

Submissions were made by 344 organisations, councils and private organisations. The Committee released the final report of the inquiry in August 2015. This included 34 recommendations.

The response to the recommendations will result in:

  • enhanced enforcement
  • stringent identification requirements
  • enriched data collection

Final Report and Government Response

Key actions

Identifying all breeders through the re-invigorated, online Companion Animals Register. To enhance enforcement and empower the community to make more informed choices when choosing a pet.

Funding targeted enforcement of animal welfare regulations through the RSPCA and Animal Welfare League, including a $200,000 investment in targeted compliance and education.

Overview and background

Companion animals in NSW are protected by

Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (1979)

Under the Act, standards and guidelines for the care of breeding dogs and cats and animals in pet shops are set out in the following Codes:

The Companion Animals Act (1998)


Frequently Asked Questions

The NSW Government is committed to ensuring the welfare of animals in NSW, and in particular, ensuring that companion animals breeding practices are safe, ethical and meet community expectations.

The Companion Animals Breeding Practices (CABP) Joint Select Committee was established in May 2015 at the request of the Minister for Primary Industries, to review and investigate companion animal breeding practices in NSW.

Submissions were made by 344 organisations, councils and private organisations.

The Committee released the final report of the inquiry in August 2015. This included 34 recommendations.

Of the 34 recommendations, 27 recommendations were supported or supported in part. Of the seven not supported, in general the intent of the recommendation will be implemented by alternative means.

NSW Companion Animal Taskforce Report and register reform

The inquiry found that recommendations from the Companion Animals Taskforce (CAT) should be implemented as a priority.

The redesign of the Companion Animals Register will make improvements in the collection and use of data, ensure that breeder details are captured and linked to animals at the point of microchipping and allow owners to update details online.

The new register will be available from July 2016 with a phase in approach being taken, starting with an online access portal then transferring information from the current register. This approach will ensure that the implementation of the revised register is robust and creates a digitised environment which meets the objectives of the Government, as well as aligning with the Committee’s recommendations to which the Government agreed.

Sale of cats and dogs in pet  stores

The Committee found no evidence which specifically linked pet shops to ‘puppy factories’.

It made recommendations to review the Animal Welfare Code of Practice – Animals in Pet Shops, review training requirements for pet store staff, consider whether there is value in accrediting any pet retail association and examine the costs and benefits of a stand-alone pet shop licensing system.

The Government supports these recommendations and will ensure that further consideration is given to the sale of companion animals in pet stores, and whether any further action is required by the Government
to ensure the welfare of animals in pet stores.

Breeders’ licensing system (supported in principle)

Recommendation 10 of the final report is to introduce a breeders’ licensing scheme with the following elements: a comprehensive database of breeders, a system of periodic audits and spot inspections, sets the number of animals that each breeding establishment may keep, a breeders’ licensing identification must be included in any advertisement in any medium where animals are advertised for sale, license every breeder and provides an auditable licence trail for every sale, and, records a breeder’s licence number when an animal is microchipped.

The rebuild of the companion animals register will improve the ability to target problem breeders by providing better information to capture key details about breeders and the dogs and cats that they breed. The requirement to display a breeder identification or microchip number when advertising dogs and cats for sale, will allow for greater transparency and tracking back to the breeder and their breeding facilities.

The Committee recommended that appropriately trained local government rangers be given enforcement powers under the POCTA Act in an attempt to increase enforcement capacity.

The expansion of the POCTA Act to include enforcement powers to local councils is not supported as the regulatory burden on councils and the training and resourcing that would need to be provided to them has not been fully investigated.

Enforcement capacity will be improved through the quality of data about companion animal breeding facilities collected and better information sharing among compliance agencies for more efficient use of resources.

The update of the companion animals register and the Memorandums of Understanding with enforcement agencies recently implemented will address this.

The Government will be progressing implementation of further Taskforce recommendations including changes to the Companion Animals Act, to enable an improved register as well as other improvements to the Responsible Pet Ownership Program.