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Amendments to Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Act welcomed by RSPCA NSW

RSPCA NSW welcomes amendments to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (POCTAA) which prevents people convicted of serious cruelty offences from owning animals or working for a business that provides care to animals.  

The Bill, known as ‘The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Amendment (Prohibition for Convicted Persons) Bill 2022’ successfully passed the NSW Parliament on Wednesday 16 November 2022, and will take effect from 1 January 2023. 

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

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

1. Certain convicted persons will be prohibited from owning, breeding, or working for a business relating to animals.

2. 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.

"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,” said Inspector Meyers. 
For many years, RSPCA NSW has been working alongside animal welfare groups to strengthen animal cruelty laws in NSW and improve the welfare of animals in our state. The mandatory disqualification orders imposed from this Bill are an indication of how seriously the NSW Parliament, RSPCA NSW, and members of the public will not tolerate animal cruelty.

RSPCA NSW extends our gratitude that these reforms have passed with cross-party support from the Animal Justice Party, Independents, NSW Liberal, NSW Labor, NSW National Parties, and the animal-loving community of NSW, who have all worked collaboratively to ensure our laws meet modern standards and community expectations.

We would like to say a big thank the Hon. Emma Hurst MLC and Mr. Alex Greenwich MP in particular, for their tireless advocacy on behalf of all animals.

The full version of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Amendment (Prohibition for Convicted Persons) Bill 2022 can be viewed here. 

MEDIA RELEASE, 17th November 2022

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