Domestic Animals Act 1994 - Domestic Animal Businesses and Animal Registry Services
VCAT can review certain decisions made by local councils or the responsible Minister about domestic animal businesses and animal registry services under the Domestic Animals Act 1994.
This page provides general information and shouldn't be considered as legal advice. Seek legal advice if you're unsure about your legal rights. Be aware that the law can change.
The Domestic Animals Act 1994 promotes animal welfare, responsible ownership of dogs and cats and the protection of the environment from feral and nuisance dogs and cats.
Other related applications
VCAT can also review some decisions about dangerous dog and menacing dog declarations and restricted breed dogs under this Act. Use the links to find out more about these applications.
Cases we can hear
If you are the owner of a domestic animal business on registered premises, or a person applying for registration of premises to conduct a domestic animal business, you may be able to apply to VCAT for a review of a council decision to:
- refuse to register or renew the registration of a premises
- refuse to transfer the registration to a new premises
- suspend the registration of a premises
- impose terms, conditions, limitations or restrictions on the registration of a premises
- revoke the registration of a premises.
A council that conducts a domestic animal business on registered premises, or a council applying for registration of premises to conduct a domestic animal business, may be able to apply to VCAT to review a decision by the responsible Minister to:
- refuse to register or renew the registration of the premises
- refuse to transfer the registration to the new premises
- suspend the registration of the premises
- impose terms, conditions, limitations or restrictions on the registration of the premises
- revoke the registration of the premises.
A domestic animal business is described as:
- an animal shelter, council pound or pet shop
- an enterprise that is run for profit and carries out the rearing, training or boarding of cats or dogs.
- an enterprise that carries out the breeding of cats or dogs to sell, where:
- if the enterprise's proprietor is a member of an applicable organisation, the enterprise has 10 or more fertile female dogs or 10 or more fertile female cats
- if the enterprise's proprietor is not a member of an applicable organisation, the enterprise has three or more fertile female dogs or three or more fertile female cats.
If you are a person whose interests are affected by a decision about an animal registry licence, you may be able to apply for a review of a decision:
- refusing to grant or renew an animal registry licence
- by the Secretary to impose conditions on an animal registry licence
- to cancel an animal registry licence
- to prohibit a person from implanting permanent identification devices in animals of prescribed classes.
Animal registry service is described as a service of keeping and maintaining records relating to a prescribed class of animals.
Cases we can't help with
We can’t accept some cases where one party lives in another state or is a Commonwealth government organisation.
Legislation that gives VCAT the power to hear these applications
Section 98(1), 98(1A) and 98AAA of the Domestic Animals Act 1994
Documents you need to apply
If you have a decision document, use it to help you complete the VCAT application form and attach a copy of the document to your application.
You must make your application within 28 days from when:
- the decision was made, or
- if you have requested a statement of reasons, the statement of reasons is given to you or you are informed that a statement of reasons will not be given.
See section 98 of the Act for more information about when a decision is taken to be made.
If you apply outside of the time limit, VCAT may extend the time for making an application. You must ask for an extension of time by indicating this on the ‘extension of time’ question of the application form and briefly explaining why your application was late.
VCAT will ask the decision maker if they agree to any extension. If the decision maker does not agree, VCAT may hold a preliminary hearing before deciding whether to grant an extension.
What happens to the original decision if I apply to VCAT for a review?
If a review application is made to VCAT about a decision made by a council or an authorised officer, the decision takes effect according to VCAT's determination.
If you don't apply to VCAT, the decision of a council or authorised officer takes effect once the deadline for applying to VCAT has passed.
What can VCAT order?
- affirm the original decision, in which case the original decision will stand
- vary the decision
- set aside the decision and substitute our own decision
- set aside the decision and send back the matter for reconsideration by the decision maker giving directions or recommendations
- invite the decision maker to reconsider their decision at any time during the case.
We can explain the application process and what the form is asking you for. Contact us to get support.
We can't give you legal advice. This means we can't tell you what to write in your application or recommend how to get the outcome you want.
Seek legal help if you're unsure about your options or need advice about your application.
Make an application
You may have to pay a fee to apply to VCAT to review a decision. Learn more about fees or apply for fee relief.
Do I need a lawyer or professional representative?
You don't need to have legal or other professional representation to appear at VCAT. If you want to be represented by a lawyer or a professional advocate, usually you must ask for VCAT's permission. Be aware that the regulatory body in most cases uses legal representation.
Find legal services that may be able to assist you.
Access and privacy
VCAT hearings and files are usually public.
VCAT has limited authority to restrict who can access cases and files but, in certain circumstances, you can apply for confidentiality