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Cat desexing

Foster Carers

The Domestic Animals Amendment (Puppy Farms and Pet Shops) Act 2017 introduces a range of amendments to the Domestic Animals Act 1994. These amendments deliver on the Government’s election commitment to reform the dog breeding and pet shop industries in Victoria and better regulate the sale of dogs and cats. Under the amended Act the role of foster carers is clearer and explained below. The amendments to the Act are in effect from 10 April 2018.

What is Foster Care?

Foster Care means the care of a stray, abandoned or unwanted dog or cat (whether or not as part of a community foster care network) that is temporary or for the purpose of finding a new home for the dog or cat and that takes place on premises on which the care is being provided to no more than;

  • 5 dogs or animal adult equivalent dogs; or
  • 5 cats or animal adult equivalent cats; or
  • a combination of 5 dogs and cats or animal adult equivalent dogs and cats;

Voluntary Enrolment Scheme

This Act recognises the integral role foster carers, community foster care networks, and rescue organisations play in the management of lost, stray and abandoned dogs and cats in the Victorian community. The Act creates a voluntary enrolment scheme for individual foster carers. Foster carers who choose to enrol in the scheme with their local council will receive:

  • a reduced registration rate of $8 for each dog they foster during the first 12 months the dog is in their care
  • a reduced registration rate of $8 for each cat they foster during the first 12 months the cat is in their care
  • the ability to use pet shops as a means of providing additional community exposure to dogs six months of age or older, and cats eight weeks of age or older.

Under current Victorian law, foster carers are required to register all animals (over three months of age) housed at their premises with the local council; even if the animal is only with them temporarily.

Registration with Council as a foster carer is not compulsory, however, to obtain the reduced registration rate for cats and dogs in their care, foster carers must register and take part in the scheme. Foster carers not registered with council will be required to register any dogs or cats over the age of three months of age at the applicable registration rate.

Apply for the Voluntary Enrolment Scheme

To apply to be part of the Foster Carers Voluntary Enrolment Scheme you will need to speak to a member of the Community Laws Team. Please call 9298 8000 should you wish to discuss an application.

Local Laws Permits

Council's Amenity Local Law 2020 makes reference to the keeping of animals to ensure that the amenity of a neighbourhood is maintained and also the welfare of the animal is considered.

A permit is required if you would like to keep more than two dogs; and/or two cats.

The maximum number of cats or dogs in total that can be kept on land is five (5). (for example, with a permit issued under the Amenity Local Law, the maximum number of cats or dogs in total could be demonstrated by having 3 dogs and 2 cats or 4 cats and 1 dog).

Foster carers will require an excess animal permit to keep more than two cats or more than two dogs at their property whether or not they are part of the voluntary registration. A permit is required even if the cat or dog is staying at the property for a short amount of time.

Additional Information

More information can be obtained from the State Government fact sheet on Foster Carers on the Agriculture Victoria website.

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