FAQs - Proposed Animal Welfare Standards for Dogs


What is a domestic animal business?

'Domestic animal business' is defined for the purposes of the standards as:
    • any dog breeding enterprise which has three or more fertile females and sells dogs (whether a profit is made or not) unless the dogs are working dogs or hunting dogs (as defined in the Dog Control Act 2000)
    • any animal shelter, pound or pet shop; or
    • any dog rearing, training or boarding enterprise that is run for profit and dogs are accommodated overnight.

What is a 'private' dog or privately kept dog?

A private dog is any dog kept by a person who (or business or organisation which) is not a 'domestic animal business'. This includes pet dogs.


What is a standard?

Standards describe the specific requirements in order to achieve acceptable animal welfare levels. Once adopted, they would be prescribed in Regulations made under the Animal Welfare Act and would become legally enforceable. Compliance with standards is mandatory.

What is a guideline?

Guidelines describe recommended practice agreed at a particular time following consideration of scientific information and accumulated experience. A guideline may be a higher standard of care than minimum standards. In some cases, the guidelines describe a recommended method of meeting a standard. Guidelines are advisory and use the word 'should'. Not complying with a guideline is not an offence in itself.


How will the standards be enforced and by whom?

The standards will be prescribed in Regulations made under the Animal Welfare Act. They will be enforced by animal welfare officers - in most instances these will be RSPCA Inspectors responding to complaints from the public. Enforcement of the standards will be supported by changes to the Act which will empower officers to inspect a 'domestic animal business' at any reasonable time. Officers will also be empowered to inspect any premises where puppies are bred for sale or dogs are kept for that purpose, whether or not they are a 'domestic animal business'.

The standards will not be enforced by council (local government) animal control officers although these officers may report suspected breaches to the RSPCA.


How will these standards stop puppy farming?

A puppy farm is defined by the RSPCA as "an intensive dog breeding facility that is operated under inadequate conditions that fail to meet the dogs' behavioural, social and/or physiological needs". An intensive dog breeding facility meets the definition of a 'domestic animal business' and will be required to comply with the standards for domestic animal businesses which require that the dogs' behavioural, social and physiological needs are met.

The standards require that the council registration number of the dam (the mother) of pups for sale is quoted in any advertisement (including online advertisements for pups bred in Tasmania) or at the point of sale. Failure to quote the registration number will be an offence. This enables both animal welfare officers and prospective owners of puppies to trace the breeder of pups which are sold - even if they buy them from a pet shop. In turn, this is supported by changes to the Act which will empower officers to inspect anyone who breeds puppies for sale or keeps dogs for this purpose.


What about backyard breeders?

Anyone breeding pups (whether they are sold or given away) will need to comply with the standards for private dogs at the very least. If they advertise the pups for sale (including signage) they need to comply with the advertising requirements in the standards. If they sell the pups they can be inspected by the RSPCA at any reasonable time.


I run a farming business and I have working dogs, some of which I breed from occasionally. Is my operation considered a domestic animal business?

A working dog is defined in the Dog Control Act as a dog used principally for:
  • droving or tending livestock; or
  • detecting illegal substances; or
  • searching, tracking or rescuing; or
  • working with police officers.
Dogs that are kept principally for droving or tending livestock are not subject to the standards for a domestic animal business, regardless of whether they are also used for breeding. Persons who keep working dogs would still need to comply with the standards for privately kept dogs.



I have hunting dogs which I breed from occasionally. If I have three or more entire females do I have to comply with the standards for domestic animal businesses?

As long as the dogs are kept principally for the purpose of hunting, the standards for domestic animal businesses do not apply. The standards for privately kept dogs would still apply.


Will I be legally required to walk my dog every day?

Providing your dog with regular exercise and the social and the sensory stimulation of a walk is recommended. However, there is no proposed legal requirement to take your dog on a walk each day, provided the dog is not routinely confined to a very small area such as a kennel. Refer to the proposed standards to see how much room dogs are going to be required to have.


Do these standards replace the requirements of the Dog Control Act?

No. The Dog Control Act is separate to the Animal Welfare Act and you will still need to comply with its requirements. This includes requirements regarding registration, kennel licenses and dangerous dogs.


I have an entire bitch which I keep as a pet. I would like to breed a litter of puppies from her and plan to sell the puppies. What standards will I need to comply with?

If you have just one bitch, you will need to comply with the standards for private dogs. If you have three or more entire bitches, you will have to comply with the standards for 'domestic animal businesses'. Either way, there are a number of standards you will need to comply with and you need to make sure you are familiar with them.

There are already more puppies bred each year than there are homes for. It is important that you do not breed from your bitch unless you are likely to find homes for the puppies and the prospective owners are in a position to provide a lifetime of quality care for the pups.

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