What you need to know… Cats and Dogs for sale advertisements in Victoria

To allow traceability of sellers of pets, it is an offence to advertise the sale of a dog or cat unless the microchip identification number of the animal is included in the advertisement or notice. A registered domestic animal business may use its Council business registration number as an alternative.

Here are some Q’s & A’s that explain the requirements of the legislation.

IS THE REQUIREMENT FOR MICROCHIPPING INFORMATION LIMITED TO ONLY BREEDING BUSINESSES?

No. The legislation applies to anyone in Victoria who advertises a dog or cat (or puppy or kitten) for sale.

All dogs and cats that are being advertised for sale (including being given away through a business) need to be permanently identified and that microchip number must appear in the advertisement.

If the person is a registered business (such as a pet shop, shelter or breeder) they can place their council registered premises number (along with the name of the issuing council) in the advertisement instead.

WHAT IS THE DEFINITION OF A BREEDING DOMESTIC ANIMAL BUSINESS?

If a person has 3 or more fertile female dogs or 3 or more fertile female cats and sell dogs or cats (whether they make a profit or not), they are deemed to be a domestic animal business. This means they must register with the local council and comply with the mandatory Code of Practice for the Operation of Breeding and Rearing Establishments.

However if a person is a member of an applicable organisation they do not need to register as a domestic animal business unless they have 10 or more fertile female dogs or 10 or more fertile female cats. Either way the person must comply with local council laws in relation to the maximum number of animals allowed on a property.

DOES A MICROCHIP NUMBER NEED TO BE INCLUDED IN ADVERTISEMENTS IF THE ANIMAL IS ‘FREE TO A GOOD HOME’ OR TO BE GIVEN AWAY?

No. The provision does not apply to private advertisements to give away a dog or cat. However, domestic animal businesses advertising dogs or cats ‘free to a good home’ do have to include microchip numbers.

ARE THERE ANY EXEMPTIONS?

The only exemption is if a veterinarian has provided a certificate to say the animal cannot be microchipped as it would significantly prejudice the animal’s health.

WHAT IF THE ADVERTISER IS PART OF A COMMUNITY FOSTER CARE NETWORK, OR A DOG OR CAT RESCUE ORGANISATION, BUT NOT REGISTERED WITH THE COUNCIL AS A DOMESTIC ANIMAL BUSINESS?

They will be required to include microchip numbers in dog/cat sale advertisements.

ADVERTISING THROUGH AN INTERSTATE NEWSPAPER, OR ON A NATIONAL ONLINE CLASSIFIED SITE

If the advertiser is based in Victoria, and if the dog or cat sale advertisement will be viewed by prospective purchasers in Victoria, then the requirement to include a microchip number still applies.

ADVERTISING THE FUTURE AVAILABILITY OF PUPPIES OR KITTENS THAT AREN’T BORN OR ARE TOO YOUNG FOR SALE

As long as the advertisement relates only to the future availability of litters (litters not currently born), and does not include reference to animals currently “for sale”, the microchip requirements do not apply.

However, once puppies or kittens are born they must be advertised with a microchip number or have a veterinary certificate stating that they are too young to microchip as it would be prejudicial to their health. Such advertisements must be kept up to date; as soon as these animals are of an age suitable for microchipping, in the opinion of a veterinarian, the microchip details must also be displayed in the advertisement.

A person cannot advertise ‘expressions of interest’ for puppies or kittens that have been born.

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