Victorian Legislation summary and FAQ

Home   >   Latest News   |   22 Apr 2018

In November 2017 the Victorian Government amendments to the Domestic Animals Act passed both houses of parliament.

The legislation is comprehensive and progressive and will have an impact on the way puppy factories operate. Many puppy farmers have sold and moved over the border due to this legislation passing in Victoria. What is needed now is national consistency so puppy farmers simply have no where to relocate. We're working on that, but in the meantime, here's a rundown of what the laws mean.

Pet Shops:

The legislation officially bans the sale of puppies and kittens in pet shops, closing off a major link in the supply chain. The ban on the sale of animals in pet shops comes into effect on 1 July 2018. From this date, petshops will only be able to work with rescue groups, pounds, shelters to assist in rehoming rescue pets. Read more here.

Cap On Dog Numbers:

The legislation limits the number of female dogs a puppy farmer may keep. Victoria is the first state to introduce this cap on dog numbers and it severely affects the financial viability of puppy factories, hence why many of them are relocating interstate. The cap on dog numbers commences April 2020. Read more here.

Pet Exchange Register:

The legislation also introduces a new pet exchange register to improve traceability and accountability. Puppy farmers hide behind the internet and are difficult to identify and locate. Any one who wants to sell a companion animal in Victoria must register their details on the pet exchange register and receive a source number, this number must be displayed in all online ads.

The public will be able to search the register and check details of the seller. And for the first time there is a pathway of recourse and accountability if the animal becomes unwell. Authorities will have further access to the register in order to locate and inspect puppy factories. And the register will provide data that will help shape future animal welfare legislation. The register comes into affect July 2019.  Read more here.

You can read more on the entire piece of legislation here.

Legislation Frequently Asked Questions

 On July 1, new laws begin taking effect in Victoria to smash the puppy farm business model. It starts with a ban on the sale of puppies and kittens in pet stores. We've been receiving a lot of questions, so we've done our best to cover them below:

Why isn't it Australia-wide?

Puppy farm legislation is a state issue, and each state government is responsible for amending and introducing their own laws. Unfortunately it is’t possible to introduce a federal law to ban puppy factories and the sale of puppies and kittens in pet shops. 

Why isn't it happening in my state too then?

We want it to! It is purely coincidental that these laws are being introduced in the state where Oscar’s Law is mostly physically based. 

We have been campaigning across the country heavily for years now, and the Victorian Labor Government is the first state government to come to the table and support our campaign. 

Rest assured we’re not finished yet, right now we are in the consultation process with the Labor Government in Western Australia, who are looking into implementing the same laws. 

We have also received a commitment from Labor in New South Wales, however sadly they are in opposition at the moment and the Liberal Government aren’t interested. 

Unfortunately, the Queensland Labor Government are not interested in this legislation, but we continue to lobby them. 

If you are interested to know the puppy farm laws in your state, you can check out this quick guide.

Is Daniel Andrews only doing this because it's an election year?

No! We have been working with the Victorian Labor Government since 2014 to get this implemented. 

The laws passed last year, and the only reason they took this long is because the Liberals and Nationals did all they could to block them. They want to overturn these laws too. So don’t forget that at the polling booth this year. 

What do I do if I see a puppy or kitten in store from July 1?

Then they are breaking the law. We’ve made this handy guide on what to do if you catch them. Save it in your phone!

What will happen to the puppies and kittens in pet stores at July 1?

Understandably people are concerned about puppies & kittens currently in pet stores. The stores selling these animals have had plenty of notice for the laws to take effect, and have been written to by the government numerous times to remind them. Some of them have already started phasing out animals or stopped altogether. 

Of course, there are still stores waiting until the 11th hour to act. Unfortunately, we can't do anything about that. But puppies and kittens sold in pet stores have always been surrendered to rescue groups and shelters if they do not sell. This way they can be appropriately and suitable rehomed (after vet work and desexing!). 

Is it true pet stores can have rescues?

It is! And it's one of our favourite parts of this legislation. Pet stores will be able to work with approved shelters and rescue groups to hold adoption days in store. 

The pet store should be promoting the group/s they are working with in store, and you can always check in with the group to confirm it is legit. 

Can't puppy farmers just call themselves 'rescues' now?

 Absolutely not. There is a process rescue groups must follow to work in conjunction with pet stores, and they must be approved by the department.

What about online sales?

It’s important to remember that the pet store ban is only phase one of this legislation. This time next year the Pet Exchange Register will be being implemented, and it will make it impossible for puppy farmers to hide behind flashy websites and deceive consumers through sites like Gumtree, Trading Post and Facebook. 

What about backyard breeders? 

As mentioned above, the Pet Exchange Register and cap on breeding dogs that are also part of this legislation will help to combat backyard breeding, while also smashing the puppy farming business model. We will share a more detailed FAQ on these changes when they come into effect.

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