Companion animals and buying, selling and trading pets

NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) and the NSW Office of Local Government have a shared interest in safeguarding animal welfare and promoting responsible pet ownership in NSW.

Parliamentary inquiry into companion animal breeding practices in New South Wales

In 2015, the NSW Government established a Joint Select Committee to look into companion animal breeding practices.

This followed media reports of poor companion animal breeding practices in commercial for-profit breeding facilities in NSW and related prosecutions for animal welfare offences.

The Inquiry included an open submissions process and public hearings and generated a very large level of interest in the community and the media. The Inquiry received 344 submissions, a petition containing 3,000 signatures, and over 2,200 emails and other correspondence.

The Joint Select Committee took evidence from 42 witnesses at three public hearings.

In response to the final report of the Inquiry, the NSW Government committed to supporting, or supporting in principle, 27 of the Inquiry’s 34 recommendations.

Since that time, a number of these recommendations have already been implemented and this work continues.

Work underway

NSW DPI and the NSW Office of Local Government are improving companion animal breeding practices and promoting responsible pet ownership in a number of ways:

  • Improving facilities and education:
    • In 2018 the NSW Government provided about $1 million to RSPCA NSW as part of a four year agreement to carry out education and capital works, and also enforce the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979 (POCTA Act).
    • The NSW Government invested $200,000 in a joint education campaign to raise awareness of the reality of puppy factories, with a website, advertisements and social media campaign.
  • Reviewing penalties:
    • We want to ensure penalties included in the POCTA Act present a strong deterrent, so we are reviewing them against other states and other penalties in NSW.
  • Creating strong legislative frameworks:
    • The NSW Government has committed to reviewing and modernising NSW animal welfare laws, as part of a suite of work under the NSW Animal Welfare Action Plan. The review includes the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979 (POCTA), Exhibited Animals Protection Act 1986 and the Animal Research Act 1985, and the underlying Regulations, Standards and Codes. There will be an opportunity for the community to have their say on the reform through public consultation processes.
    • In 2018, we introduced changes to the Companion Animals Act 1998 and the POCTA Act to improve identification and promote responsible pet ownership.
  • Introducing new online services:
    • In late 2018, the Office of Local Government launched an improved NSW Pet Registry to enhance digital pet registration.