Improving legislation – penalties and critical situations

In 2018, we released the NSW Animal Welfare Action Plan (the Action Plan) and introduced changes to the Companion Animals Act and Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (POCTA Act) to improve the traceability of cats and dogs and support responsible pet ownership.

In 2018, we also released the Animal Welfare Discussion paper: Improving the current legislation - penalties and critical situations (PDF, 1169.12 KB). Community feedback was on sought on the issues of penalties for animal cruelty offences and delivering better outcomes during critical and emerging incidents.

We had an overwhelming response:

  • 2,152 people provided feedback on the discussion paper on penalties for animal cruelty offences
  • 480 people responded to the discussion paper on improving animal welfare in critical and emergency situations.

It is great to see so many people have taken the time to share their views with us on these important issues.

We are continuing to work through the community’s feedback on these issues as we consider any necessary changes to the legislation and penalty provisions.

Penalties for animal cruelty offences

We are considering:

  • whether the maximum statutory penalties  and Penalty Infringement Notices for animal cruelty offences in NSW meet community expectations
  • introducing an interim disqualification order
  • amending the Crimes Act 1900 to include the same disqualification orders that exist under the POCTA Act
  • whether the penalties for non-compliance with a Court order are a sufficient deterrence for offenders
  • penalties other than fines, jail terms and disqualification orders to deter potential animal cruelty offenders

Protecting animal welfare in critical and emerging situations

We are considering changes to the POCTA Act to:

  • provide Local Land Services and local council rangers powers to euthanase stock animals that are severely injured, diseased or in such poor physical condition as a result of an emergency situation, and it is considered cruel for those animals to be kept alive
  • provide Local Land Services and local council rangers with protection from personal liability when they acted in good faith and in accordance with the POCTA Act
  • broaden the seizure and disposal provisions to encompass all stock animals, including intensively produced livestock, and livestock on smaller land sizes
  • clarify that  the seize and dispose powers apply to premises and vehicles
  • clarify that advice on stock welfare and management should be sought from Local Land Services