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Animal welfare responsibilities

Do I have animal welfare-related responsibilities, as the owner of a cat or dog, covered under other legislation?

As a cat or dog owner, you have a responsibility to look after your cat or dog's basic welfare needs, including:

  • Provide your cat or dog with an appropriate balanced diet and clean, cool water at all times
  • Ensure that your cat or dog has adequate shelter suitable for all weather conditions
  • Ensure that your cat or dog is well socialised, trained and exercised
  • Ensure your cat or dog's good health with regular veterinary check ups, worming, tick and flea treatments
  • If you are not going to breed from your cat or dog, you are strongly encouraged to have it desexed (permanently sterilised) to prevent unwanted litters.
  • Make sure that your cat or dog is looked after when you go away. If you are leaving your cat or dog in a cattery or kennel, make sure that the cattery or kennel complies with the NSW Animal Welfare Code of Practice No 5 - Dogs and Cats in Animal Boarding Establishments.

If you neglect your cat or dog's basic welfare needs, you may be liable for fines and/or imprisonment under animal welfare and cruelty related legislation, including the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979, the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (General) Regulation 2006 and relevant animal welfare codes of practice. These are administered by the Department of Primary Industries and enforced by NSW Police, Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) New South Wales inspectors and Animal Welfare League NSW inspectors.

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