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Responsible pet ownership

Annual permits grace period

The NSW Government has granted a 12-month grace period for the introduction of annual permits for owners of non-de-sexed cats and dangerous and restricted dogs to allow pet owners more time to prepare for the change.

This means that from 1 July 2020 owners of cats not de-sexed by four months of age will be required to pay an $80 annual permit in addition to the one-off lifetime pet registration fee.

This will create a stronger incentive to de-sex cats, improve health and wellbeing of pets, lower demand on pounds, reduce euthanasia rates, and help to address concerns about feral, stray and roaming cats.

Exemptions will be in place for cats that are registered by 1 July 2020 and for cats kept for breeding purposes by members of recognised breeding bodies.

Also from 1 July 2020 owners of dogs of a restricted breed or declared to be dangerous will be required to pay a $195 annual permit in addition to their one-off lifetime pet registration fee.

This will serve as a further disincentive to owning these dogs and encourage owners to better manage the behaviour of their animal. 

The 12-month grace period will allow for education and awareness activities to inform the many pet owners across the state to be affected by annual permits.

In the case of cats, it will also provide time for owners to ensure their pets are desexed, not only delivering health and lifestyle benefits to their animal, but enabling them to avoid having to pay the annual permit. This includes the many people who will welcome a new kitten into their homes during the forthcoming spring breeding season.

In relation to dogs, owners can use the time to better manage the behaviour of their animals and, if appropriate, request that their local council review their dangerous dog declaration. Owners must ensure their dog undergoes appropriate behavioural training as part of any review.


Selling or giving away a cat or dog

From 1 July 2019, people selling or giving away kittens, cats, puppies or dogs, will need to include an identification number in any advertisements.

The changes will help people looking to buy a cat or dog to know what the current owner has recorded as the breed, sex and age of the cat or dog, whether it is desexed, and whether or not it is already registered.

This will enable prospective owners to do further research and make informed purchasing decisions. This helps to promote responsible cat and dog breeding and selling. Animal welfare enforcement agencies will also be able to use this information to identify ‘problem’ breeders and to enforce animal welfare laws.


The identification number can be either

  • a microchip number
  • a breeder identification number, OR
  • a rehoming organisation number


The new rule applies regardless of:

  • the age of the animal
  • the place you plan to advertise
  • whether you are a hobby or professional breeder; or your cat or dog has had an accidental or one-off litter
  • whether or not you bred the animal
  • whether or not the animal you are selling or rehoming has been born yet


The rules will apply to all advertisements, including those in newspapers, local posters, community notice boards and all forms of online advertising, including public advertisements on websites such as the Trading Post, Gumtree and social media sites.

The changes have been implemented in response to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Companion Animal Breeding Practices


The changes help people looking to buy a cat or dog search the NSW Pet Registry to see the animal’s:

  • breed
  • sex
  • age
  • whether it is desexed
  • whether or not it is already registered


Buying or adopting a cat or dog

Check the NSW Pet Registry

Use the identification number to check the NSW Pet Registry to confirm the number is valid.

A microchip number search will provide you with information about what the owner has recorded as the breed, sex and age of the cat or dog, whether it is desexed and whether or not it is already registered.


Do your research

When considering buying or adopting a cat or dog, you should always do your research first:

  • Make sure you can meet the animal's needs. You need to understand the breed, the animal's characteristics, expected lifespan, and how much time and money is needed to look after the cat or dog
  • Consider introducing a new cat or dog to any existing pets, and get advice if you're unsure whether the animals will be compatible.
  • Make sure your children know how to safely interact with your cat or dog
  • Contact the breeder or seller if you have any questions about the origin of a cat or dog
  • Research the breeder or seller and, if possible, visit the facility where the animal has been bred or is being housed in order to assess the animal’s living conditions and welfare
  • Check if the cat or dog is up to date with vaccinations, flea and worm treatments
  • Check if the animal is microchipped and registered


If you have any further questions about the new advertising requirements, please visit: or contact the Department of Primary Industries Animal Welfare Branch on (02) 6391 3149 or



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