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NSW Government - promoting RPO

What is the NSW Government doing to promote responsible pet ownership?


Local Government Minister Don Page and Minister for Primary Industries Katrina Hodgkinson have today announced a package of measures to reduce the number of pets euthanased in the State, help reunite lost pets with their owners and reduce the number of dangerous dog attacks.

“The NSW Government will help lower euthanasia rates by improving the Companion Animals Register, encouraging the purchase of de-sexed animals from pounds or shelters and assisting councils to improve microchipping,” said Mr Page, who was joined at the announcement at Dogs NSW in Orchard Hills by Member for Mulgoa Tanya Davies.

“Modernising the register will mean more animals will be reunited with their owners, instead of being euthanased; while encouraging the de-sexing of pets will reduce populations of unwanted animals,” he said.

“The measures will also encourage people to purchase animals from rescue organisations; provide more funding through council grant programs to tackle pet overpopulation; and help councils better manage dangerous dogs in their area.

“A primary school-based awareness campaign about how to keep children safe around dogs will be expanded to pre-schools and families expecting new children.

“Each year an unacceptably high number of dogs and cats are euthanased in NSW pounds and shelters.

“Of animals that enter these facilities, some 60 per cent of cats and 30 per cent of dogs never leave alive.

“Last year 50,000 dogs and cats were euthanased in NSW. These numbers are distressing and that’s why we’ve taken action.”

Mr Page said these measures are in response to the Companion Animal Taskforce.

“The NSW Government has already taken action on dangerous dogs by creating a new category of “menacing dog” and tougher penalties for irresponsible dog owners to help safeguard the community,” he said.

“We have opened the door and listened to stakeholders and we will keep the door open with the establishment of the Responsible Pet Ownership Reference Group, the membership of which will be announced shortly.”

Key measures include:

  • A new $900,000 local council grant program over three years to target microchipping, registration and desexing to reduce pet overpopulation and deal with dangerous dog issues;
  • Expanding the current primary school-based Responsible Pet Ownership education program to pre-schools and families expecting new children to increase awareness about how to keep children safe around dogs; and
  • A new discounted registration category – ‘De-sexed animal, purchased from pound or shelter’ to encourage the purchasing of de-sexed pets.

Ms Hodgkinson said the NSW Government carefully examined the expert advice from the Taskforce, Chaired by practising vet and Member for Charlestown Andrew Cornwell, and closely reviewed more than 5300 public submissions received on the recommendations.

“We are fundamentally redesigning the system under which we manage cats and dogs in NSW to ensure owners take responsibility for their pets,” Ms Hodgkinson said.

“The NSW Government recognises not only the importance of domestic animals to people across NSW, but also the fact that owning a pet comes with important responsibilities.

“I thank the Companion Animals Taskforce and members of the public for their advice to the NSW Government which has helped us to deliver initiatives to meet the needs and expectations of the community.”

Ms Davies said the NSW Government’s response to the Taskforce’s recommendations is a win for pet owners in Mulgoa and across NSW.

Click here to view the NSW Government’s full response.

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