Pet Shops, Shelters, Breeders and Puppy Farms

Pet shops can only accept and sell cats and dogs from approved sources.  Approved sources are shelters and pounds or from Foster Carers registered with Council. Cats must be at least 8 weeks old, and dogs must be older than 6 months.

Pet Exchange Register

It is an offence to advertise a dog or cat for sale or to give away unless the advertisement includes the animal’s microchip number and the source number generated by the Pet Exchange Register. Anyone advertising a dog or cat, kitten or puppy for sale or to give away must be enrolled on the Pet Exchange Register. Once enrolled on the register the person or business will receive a Source Number.

Pet Shops and Shelters

All pet shops and shelters must be registered with Council and display their Domestic Animal Business permit ( DOCX 118.73KB).

Pet Shop and Shelter Rules


Dogs and cats must be vaccinated at least 14 days prior to sale to cover such diseases as canine distemper, infectious canine hepatitis and canine parvovirus for dogs, and infectious feline enteritis and feline respiratory disease (cat flu) for cats.

All dogs and cats sold must have a vaccination certificate signed by a veterinarian. This certificate must indicate the next date for further vaccination and any obvious defects.

No animal with a potentially life threatening defect apparent at the time of sale should be sold.

Care Information

Purchasers of pet animals must be given information about feeding, desexing, parasite control, health (including procedures for emergency treatment during the guarantee period), housing, responsible pet ownership and current legislation covering the registration of pets.

Guarantee and refund

If your animal is not acceptable because of health or other reasons that are supported by a statement from a veterinarian (excluding accidents) within 7 days of purchase, pet shop proprietors must take the animal back and refund all monies or offer a replacement animal with the same guarantee.

If the animal is returned within 3 days for any other reason, the pet shop must refund 75% of the purchase price or offer a replacement animal with the same guarantee.

If the animal dies or is euthanized as a result of a disease that is traceable to the point of sale, the pet shop proprietor must refund the purchase price or offer a replacement animal with the same guarantee.

Cat and Dog Breeders

Breeding Regulations

The Department of Agriculture provides regulation information for dog and cat breeder businesses.

Cat Breeding

Find out information about the regulations for cat breeders, including:

All breeders must also be familiar with and comply with the mandatory Code of Practice for the Breeding of Animals with Heritable Defects that Cause Disease.

Dog Breeding

Find out information about the regulations for dog breeders, including:

  • Commercial Dog Breeder approval is required if you wish to keep more than 10 fertile female dogs on your property.
  • Breeders with between 11 and 50 fertile female dogs must first be registered as a Domestic Animal Business with Council, after which they can apply to the Minister for Agriculture to obtain commercial dog breeder approval.
  • All commercial dog breeding businesses will be subject to audits and inspection by departmental authorised officers, must comply with the Code of Practice for the Breeding of Animals with Heritable Defects that Cause Disease and requirements set by the Domestic Animals Act and supporting regulations.

Puppy Farms

A puppy farm or puppy mill is an intensive dog breeding facility that is operated under inadequate conditions that fail to meet the dogs' behavioural, social and/or physiological needs.

Victoria has introduced requirements to better regulate the sale of dogs and cats.

What should I do if I suspect someone might be running a puppy farm?

Contact Council as soon as possible

Contact Council's Compliance Department on 9262 6394 with any details you may have. Your details will be kept confidential. Council can also provide you with information about what standards or regulations need to be met before being recognised as a ‘registered breeder’.