Information about the Companion Animals Taskforce


The Companion Animals Taskforce was established by the Minister for Local Government and the Minister for Primary Industries to provide advice on key companion animal issues, including strategies to reduce the rate of companion animal euthanasia.

Specifically, the Ministers asked the Taskforce to inquire into:

  • Euthanasia rates and re-homing options for surrendered or abandoned companion animals
  • The breeding of companion animals including the practices of “puppy farms”
  • The sale of companion animals
  • The microchipping and desexing of companion animals
  • Current education programs on “responsible pet ownership”
  • Dangerous dogs
  • Any other high priority companion animal issues that become apparent to the Taskforce.

The Taskforce was chaired by the Member for Charlestown, Mr Andrew Cornwell MP, and consisted of representatives of the following organisations, invited by the Ministers to participate:

  • Animal Welfare League NSW,
  • Australian Companion Animal Council,
  • Australian Institute of Local Government Rangers,
  • Australian Veterinary Association,
  • Cat Protection Society of NSW,
  • Local Government and Shires Associations of NSW,
  • Dogs NSW,
  • Pet Industry Association Australia, and
  • Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals NSW.

Representatives of the Office of Local Government and Department of Primary Industries also participated on the Taskforce.

The NSW Government final response to the reports of the Companion Animals Taskforce.

The NSW Government’s response to the reports of the Taskforce is based on the more than 5,300 submissions received in public consultation. Issues canvassed included identification, registration, welfare issues, how to better manage dangerous dogs and education.

Feedback, expressing strong and varied views on the 38 Taskforce recommendations, was received from a range of stakeholders, including cat and dog owners, breeders and recognised breeder groups, welfare organisations, NSW councils, community groups, the pet industry and the broader community.

The response adopts most of the 38 recommendations of the Taskforce in full or in part and introduces a range of initiatives to respond to community concerns about dangerous dogs, animal welfare and high euthanasia rates.

The Companion Animals Amendment Bill 2013 commenced 18 November 2013.

Responsible Pet Ownership Reference Group

The Government has established a Responsible Pet Ownership Reference Group as part of its response to the Companion Animals Taskforce Reports.

The Reference Group will provide advice to the Government on strategic cat and dog management issues. This advice will include the operation of current responsible pet ownership policy, legislative development, and best practice for managing cats and dogs in NSW.

Membership of the Group will be appointed by the Minister for Local Government. The membership will include a broad range of representatives from stakeholder groups with suitable skills and experience to provide advice on how councils manage cats and dogs and how the NSW Government promotes responsible pet ownership.

The Reference Group will meet at least twice per year and no more than four times per year.

The membership of Reference Group, following the meeting held on 10 September 2015, will be the following members:

  • Mr Adam Crouch MP, NSW Parliament (Chair)
  • Mr Steve Coleman – CEO, RSPCA NSW
  • Dr Karen Hedberg – Board Member, Dogs NSW
  • Ms Kristina Vesk – CEO, Cat Protection Society
  • Dr Geoff Scarlett – President, Australian Veterinary Association
  • Mr Mark Fraser – CEO, Pet Industry Association of Australia
  • Ms Margaret Gaal – President, Australian Institute of Local Government Rangers
  • Mr Brett Richardson – Manager Environment Protection, Regulation & Security Operations, Sutherland Shire Council
  • Dr John Baguley – Registrar, Veterinary Practitioners Board of NSW

Key Documents