Rehoming animals amendment praised

RSPCA NSW has commended the passing of the Companion Animals Amendment (Rehoming Animals) Bill 2021 as an important step towards safeguarding impounded animals in the state. 

The amendment outlines measures councils must take towards rehoming a seized or surrendered animal, including working with rehoming organisations to provide impounded animals the chance to be rehomed. 

The proposed reforms include councils giving written notice to at least two rehoming organisations to inform them that the animal is available for rehoming, and to take steps to advertise the animal’s availability. 

If a rehoming organisation provides written notice it can rehome an animal, councils are not to euthanise the animal. 

Councils must also keep records that identify animals that have been rehomed and must keep records to identify those that have been destroyed, including a record of the actions taken towards rehoming, as well as alternative actions considered. 

The Bill passed the NSW Legislative Assembly on February 18, and RSPCA NSW praised the Hon. Emma Hurst from the Animal Justice Party and Member for Sydney Alex Greenwich for championing the issue. 

Greenwich told the Legislative Assembly the issue is close to his heart as his dog, Max, is a rescue animal. 

“Had it not been for the proactive work of Monika’s DoggieRescue, Max would not have been with us, would not have given us the joy he does every day and would not have kept me in good shape.” 

RSPCA NSW CEO Steve Coleman said the Bill will help build on good work done by many councils. 

“Every animal deserves a fair go at a second chance, and we can only achieve this by working together,” he said. 

“More than anything, this Bill sets up the framework for a solid network dedicated to saving more animals lives.” 

RSPCA NSW is also anticipating working on the implementation of the Bill with the Minister for Local Government, aiming to balance the intent of the Bill with the resources available to shelters and councils.  

The welfare organisation said this includes highlighting key welfare considerations, and it proposes the onus be on councils to ensure a rehoming organisation has capacity to take animals given to them, to avoid overcrowding, and to ensure responsible rehoming practices. 

They have emphasised the need data to be sent from councils to rehoming organisations including microchip numbers, weight, age, breed, condition and behaviour assessments, and information about how the council came to possess the animal. 

The RSPCA has also stressed the need for under-resourced shelters to be able to opt out of the scheme if necessary. 

The Bill can be accessed on


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