A raft of changes designed to improve animal welfare in NSW will come into effect this week, Minister for Primary Industries Ian Macdonald announced today.

“These important changes are about bringing the industry into line with society’s expectations on animal welfare – there is no room for negligence,” Minister Macdonald said.

“All people breeding cats and dogs for sale must meet minimum animal husbandry standards set out in the Animal Welfare Code of Practice – Breeding Dogs and Cats.

“About 53 per cent of Australian households are home to a cat or dog and many of these are bred in commercial situations that fall under this code.

“From Friday, commercial dog and cat breeders must meet strengthened animal welfare standards – including fines of up to $2750 – that will be enforced by the RSPCA and the Animal Welfare League.”

The new standards include:

  • Written information must be provided to each purchaser to ensure that they are aware of pet ownership responsibilities, eg food, care and shelter requirements;
  • Three-day refund (50%) offered in writing at the time of purchase;
  • Animals must not be intentionally mated during the wrong parts of their cycles.
  • A dog or cat must be physically and mentally fit, healthy and free of disease at the time of being mated;
  • Female dogs must not have more than two litters in any two-year period, unless with the written approval of a vet; and
  • Female cats must not have more than three litters in any two-year period, unless with the written approval of a vet.

The Animal Welfare Code of Practice – Breeding Dogs and Cats is supported by Dogs NSW, Waratah Cat Alliance, Australian Veterinary Association NSW, the Pet Industry Association and enforcement agencies.

The code can be found at: http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/agriculture/livestock/animal-welfare/codes/general/breeding-dogs-and-cats