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New Animal Welfare Regulations/Code of Welfare

1 October 2018

Set out below is a summary of the new regulations and code of welfare which came into effect as of the above date.
Links to the relevant and full set of information have also been made available below.

12. Muzzles on dogs

Restrictive muzzles can cause your dog pain and distress.

You'll be OK if the muzzle you use meets these requirements:
  • Right size and fit for each dog. A muzzle which works for one dog may not work for all.
  • Doesn't cause cuts, swellings or abrasions.
  • Allows the dog to open its mouth for normal breathing, panting, drinking, and vomiting.
Otherwise, you can be fined $300.
  • You can use a more restrictive muzzle when giving treatment, including preventative treatment, but the dog must be under constant supervision. For example, a vet vaccinating a dog that is a safety risk can use a restrictive muzzle, provided the dog isn't left unsupervised.
  • Check with your local authority for specific rules if you are required to muzzle your dog.

13. Dogs must have dry and shaded shelter

  • Your dog must have access to appropriate shelter.
  • Check on your dog regularly.
Your dog's shelter and living area must meet these requirements:
  • Your dog can access a sheltered area at any time that is clean, dry, shaded, and ventilated – but not draughty – and protects them from extremes of heat and cold.
  • The sheltered area must be big enough for the dog to stand up, turn around, and lie down in a natural position.
  • The dog has constant access to water.
  • The dog's droppings and urine don't accumulate where they live.
Otherwise, you can be fined $300.

14. Dogs left in vehicles

Leaving your dog in the car on a warm day is a risk. Dogs quickly suffer and die in hot cars.
  • If you leave a dog in a hot car and it becomes heat stressed, you and the owner of the vehicle can be fined $300.
Thinking about bringing your dog on a journey? Plan ahead and ask yourself:
  • What's the weather like?
  • Will you have to leave your dog in the car?
  • How long will the dog be in the car?
  • Is it better to leave the dog at home?
A hot dog seeks shade and may pant, drool, and hyperventilate.

If you see a dog suffering in a hot car, take immediate action. Find the dog owner or call the:
  • Police, or
  • the SPCA

15. Dogs on moving vehicles

Dogs transported unsecured on the back of trucks, utes, and trailers can fall off or hang off the side, suffering severe injuries.
You’ll be OK when travelling on a public road if your dog is:
  • secured in a cage or crate, or
  • tied up safely when it's on the back.
If you use a rope or leash, it must:
  • allow the dog to stand and lie down in a natural position
  • prevent the dog from getting its legs over the side of the vehicle.
Otherwise, you and the owner of the vehicle can be fined $300.
  •  Farm dogs can be loose on a vehicle, including on public roads, when they are actively working.

47. Collars and tethers


Poorly fitted collars can cause pain and distress. Check your dog's collar regularly.
You'll be OK if the collar you use meets these requirements:
  • Right size and fit for each individual dog.
  • Allows normal breathing, panting, and drinking.
  • Not so tight or heavy that it can cause skin abrasions, cuts or swelling.
  • Not so loose that it can cause an injury – for example, by getting its leg caught in the collar.
Otherwise, you can be fined $300.

If you need to tether your dog, make sure the tether:
  • is an appropriate length and material to allow normal breathing, panting, and drinking
  • doesn't let the dog get caught up on nearby objects and injured.
Otherwise, you can be fined $300.
  • Don’t forget dogs need time off tethers for exercise.

51. Docking dogs' tails

  • Routine tail docking (or 'banding') is no longer allowed.
  • If you dock your dog's tail or allow it to be docked, you could face a criminal conviction and fine of up to $3,000 for an individual, or $15,000 for the business.
  • If your dog's tail is injured, go to the vet.
  • If you see docked puppies for sale, report it to:
  • MPI, or
  • the SPCA

56. Removing dogs' dewclaws

  • There are new restrictions on removing dogs' dewclaws.
  • If you remove a front limb dewclaw, or an articulated hind limb dewclaw, from a dog of any age you could face a criminal conviction and a fine of up to:
  • $3,000 for an individual, or
  • $15,000 for a business
  • If your dog's claws are injured, go to the vet
  • If you see puppies for sale that have their articulated dewclaws removed, report it to:
  • MPI, or
  • the SPCA
Report on tail docking
Due to the high interest in tail docking, MPI commissioned an independent review of the science and arguments supporting or opposing the practice. The report concluded that dog tail docking is:
  • a significant surgical procedure with the potential to cause considerable pain and distress
  • not justified by any benefit to the dog.
Affected parties were given a chance to comment on the report.

Temporary Housing of Companion Animals (New code of welfare) 

A new Code of Welfare for Temporary Housing of Companion Animals has been issued. The code has been developed by the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC) and came into effect 1 October 2018.

The code sets out minimum standards and best practice guidelines for the management of animals in temporary housing facilities including the provision of food and water, temperature and lighting, air and water quality, behaviour, health and disease, and sale or rehoming.

Temporary housing facilities include but are not limited to animal welfare centres, council pounds, boarding kennels and catteries, pet shops, and animal daycare centres. The Code does not apply to temporary housing of animals by their owners, for instance at shows or exhibitions, nor does it apply to animals being held temporarily within foster homes or training facilities.


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