The law

The Companion Animals Act 1998 and the Companion Animals Regulation 2008 provide for the identification and registration of cats and dogs, how they are managed and the duties and responsibilities of their owners.

Pet shops are also bound by animal welfare related legislation including the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979, the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (General) Regulation 2006 and the Animal Welfare Code of Practice – Animals in pet shops. This legislation and Code is administered by the Department of Primary Industries.

Microchipping requirement

In NSW, all cats and dogs, except exempt cats and dogs, must be microchipped by 12 weeks of age or before being sold or given away, whichever happens first. You must be an authorised identifier to microchip cats and dogs in NSW.

If you are not a vet, you must have successfully completed a training course run by the NSW Technical and Further Education Commission (TAFE NSW)Royal Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA NSW)Animal Welfare League (AWL NSW) or other training provider authorised by the Chief Executive, Office of Local Government, enabling you to lawfully implant microchips in cats and dogs in NSW.

On successful completion of the course, your training provider will notify the Office of Local Government, which will give you access to the NSW Companion Animals Register for the purpose of entering onto the register, identification information of animals you have microchipped.

It is the responsibility of the pet shop, organisation or person selling or giving away an animal to ensure that it is microchipped before being sold or given away.

The operator of the pet shop is also required to complete a Change of Owner/Details Form with the new owners details and forward it to their local council within 14 days of the sale. Penalties may apply for non-compliance.

Key resources