Animal Identification Breach

From 1 July 2019, new regulations have been put into place regarding the advertisement of animals online and offline.

By law, any individual, breeder or organisation selling, adopting or giving away a dog, cat, puppy or kitten needs to use an official identification number in any advertisement of the animal.

Approved identification numbers include:

  • Microchip number
  • Breeder identification number
  • Rehoming organisation number (RON)

This rule applies regardless of:

  • The animal’s age
  • What form the advertisement takes
  • Where the advertisement is hosted
  • Whether you are a professional rehoming organisation or breeder, or your cat or dog has had an accidental litter
  • Whether the animal you are advertising has been born yet

If a valid identification number is not used, you could be issued with an on-the-spot fine of $330 or face court, where a maximum penalty of $5,500 applies.

These rules apply to all advertisements, including but not limited to, social media posts and listings, website advertisements and listings, community notice boards, posters, flyers and newspapers.

If you see an animal advertised without an identification number, we suggest the following:

  1. Contact the seller to see if a typo or unintentional mistake was made.
  2. Use the Pet Registry search function to determine the validity of the number.
  3. Report the advertisement to RSPCA NSW using the form below so we can investigate the matter further.

Animal identification Breach FAQs

These amendments have been made to POCTAA in response to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Companion Animal Breeding Practices. The changes, which are welcomed by RSPCA NSW, will help people looking to adopt or buy a companion animal make a more informed choice about the animal’s history and existing owners.

The changes will also make it easier for animal enforcement agencies, like ours, to seek out or keep an eye on ‘problem’ breeders.

As a recognised rehoming organisation, RSPCA NSW will display a Rehoming Organisation Number (RON) provided by local government.

For other organisations or individuals, approved identification includes a breeder identification number or microchip number.

Microchip number: In NSW, all cats and dogs (excluding those exempt) are required to have a microchip by 12 weeks of age or before being sold or given away. You can get your pet microchipped at your local veterinarian.

Breeder identification number: Breeder identification numbers are free and available to cat and dog breeders through the NSW Pet Registry. A breeder must acquire a breeder identification number before selling or giving away a cat or dog.

Rehoming Organisation Number: Rehoming Organisation Numbers (RON) are issued to local councils, pounds, shelters and other approved rehoming organisations by the Office of Local Government.

From 1 July 2019, it will be an offence under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979 to fail to provide an identification number in advertisements selling or rehoming companion animals.

Individuals or organisations who fail to comply can be issued an immediate fine of $330, with a maximum penalty of $5,500 in court.

The NSW State Government has determined that a breach of the requirement to provide an identification number on advertisements is an offence to be dealt with pursuant to the provisions in the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (NSW) 1979. Where RSPCA NSW receives a complaint in this regard, it will be assigned to an Inspector for investigation and where appropriate enforcement action, including by issuing Penalty Infringement Notices to the value of $330 or where appropriate, the Court can impose a fine up to and including $5500.00.

Under the Companion Animals Act 1998, some working dogs are not required to be microchipped and therefore do not need to comply with this advertising requirement. Please refer to the Companion Animals Act 1998 for more information on what dogs do and don’t count under this exception.

If a Greyhound racing participant wants to rehome or sell a Greyhound they own, they must provide a microchip number or a registered participant number on the advertisement.

An identification number doesn’t have to be provided on animals advertised in states outside of New South Wales unless the state it’s advertised in also has requirements about listing identification numbers.

RSPCA Policies