Domestic Animals Act 1994 - Domestic Animal Businesses and Animal Registry Services

This page provides general information and should not be considered as legal advice. Seek legal advice if you are unsure about your legal rights. Be aware that the law can change.

VCAT can review certain decisions made by local councils or the Minister for Agriculture relating to domestic animal businesses and animal registry services under the Domestic Animals Act 1994.

Other related applications

VCAT can also review some decisions related to dangerous dog and menacing dog declarations and restricted breed dogs under this Act. There are separate information pages about these applications.

Cases we can hear

You may be able to apply to VCAT for review 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, in respect 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 Minister for Agriculture and Food Security 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 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 dogs or cats.
  • an enterprise that carries out the breeding of dogs or cats to sell, where:
    1. 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
    2. 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.

Legislation that gives VCAT the power to hear these applications

Section 98(1), 98(1A) and 98AAA of the Domestic Animals Act 1994

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.

Time limits

You must make your application within 28 days from when:

  • the decision was made, or
  • if you have requested a statement of reasons under the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act, 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.

You may be able to apply for an extension to this time limit.

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 in accordance with the determination of the Tribunal.

If no application to VCAT is made, a decision of a council or an authorised officer under the Act takes effect at the end of the time within which a review application to VCAT could have been made.

What can VCAT order?

Unless the relevant Act of Parliament gives us different powers, VCAT can:

  • 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 remit (send back) the matter for reconsideration by the decision maker Definition A person who makes or has made a decision under legislation that gives them this authority. giving directions or recommendations
  • invite the decision-maker to reconsider their decision at any time during the case.

Do I need a lawyer or professional representative?

You do not need to have legal or other professional representation to appear at VCAT. If you wish 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 free or low-cost legal services that may be able to assist you.

Need help with your application?

We can explain the application process and what the form is asking you for. Contact us to get support.

We cannot give you legal advice. This means we cannot tell you what to write in your application or recommend how to get the outcome you want.

Seek legal help if you are unsure about your options or need advice about your claim. The following services may be able to help 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. For more about applying for confidentiality.