The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Amendment successfully passed the NSW Parliament recently and will take effect from 1 March 2023.

The bill, known as The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Amendment (Prohibition for Convicted Persons) Bill 2022 (POCTAA), prevents people convicted of serious cruelty offences from owning or working for a business that provides care to animals.

Scott Meyers, Chief Inspector at RSPCA NSW, said the amendments are a step in the right direction towards modernising state animal welfare legislation.

“RSPCA NSW is pleased to see progressive changes being made to POCTAA, which aligns with community expectations and further protects the welfare of animals. Pet ownership is a privilege and not a right and we will continue to carry out our mission of preventing animal cruelty across the state and advocating for all creatures great and small.”

Amendments to POCTAA through the Prohibition for Convicted Persons Bill 2022 include:  

  • Certain convicted persons will be prohibited from owning, breeding, or working for a business relating to animals.
  • People who disobey these laws and are found in possession of an animal will not only face serious additional charges, but enforcement agencies like RSPCA NSW have the power to seize all animals found in the possession of the convicted person. Enforcement agencies also have the power to rehome these animals after five business days.

The bill passed with cross-party support from Independents, NSW Liberal, NSW Labor, the Animal Justice Party, and NSW National Parties.

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