Owners of domesticated companion animals and livestock are subject to a range of legislation. Whilst it is outside the scope of this article to review these in detail [they are all available online] I found some interesting facts during my reading.
The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act
This act requires the person in charge [owner or similar] to provide care, treat in a humane manner and ensure the welfare of animals in their care. The act is criminal in nature with significant fines and/or imprisonment for its contravention.
The act states clearly;
- That when an animal is in pain the owner must take reasonable steps to alleviate pain and, when necessary, owners must seek veterinary treatment.
- Owners shall not abandon an animal
- Owners shall provide clean water, food and exercise to confined animals
- Drivers of a vehicle who strike an animal [other than a bird] shall take measures to alleviate pain and if a domesticated animal is hit, report the accident to relevant authorities
- Vets also have powers under the act to take possession of animals they consider to be subject to ongoing pain and suffering to the point that it is cruel to keep them alive
The NSW Companion Animals Act
This act regulates responsible pet ownership of cats and dogs, and ensures the safety and well being of the whole community. It specifically requires pet owners to; identify their pets with implantable microchips and tagged collars, have effective leash control when in public places of no more than four dogs, pickup and dispose of faeces in receptacles provided by local council, confine their dogs at home to prevent escape, prohibits cats and dogs from designated areas and places stringent controls on nuisance cats or dangerous dogs.
The Animal Welfare Code of Practice for Breeders and Pet Shops
Breeders and pet shop owners and employees must comply with this code to ensure no offence is committed in breach of Clause 20 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. The standards ensure the welfare and care of puppies and kittens offered for sale. The standards dictate that pups and kittens must be at least 8 weeks of age, be healthy, vaccinated, wormed and microchipped before sale to someone over the age of 18, who then must be provided with accurate written care information at no charge. It also provides a guaranteed cooling off period of 3 days after the sale during which time the pet can be returned for a 50% purchase price refund.