In a life threatening emergency dial Triple Zero (000)

In a life threatening emergency dial Triple Zero (000)
ACT Public Hospitals

Canberra Hospital

5124 0000

Calvary Hospital

6201 6111

Mental Health

Call Mental Health Triage on

1800 629 354

(free call except from mobiles or public phones) or

6205 1065

Poisons Hotline

For a poison emergency in Australia call


Drug and Alcohol Help Line

The Drug and Alcohol Help Line is available 24-hours, 7 days a week on

5124 9977

Health Protection Service

For after hours urgent public health matters including environmental health, radiation safety, food poisoning and communicable disease management phone:

(02) 6205 1700


24 hour health advice

1800 022 222

ACT State Emergency Service

Emergency help
during flood or storms

132 500

Animal welfare

Animal Welfare and Management Strategy 2017-2022

Animal welfare

The Animal Welfare and Management Strategy 2017 - 2022 seeks to take a preventative and proactive approach to animal welfare and management. For information please view the strategy (PDF 17.6MB).

Thank you to everyone who provided feedback on the draft Animal Welfare and Management Strategy.

A total of 110 submissions were received with written submissions from the community and key interest groups.

The community response confirmed that responsible pet ownership is an important issue for Canberrans.

Some of the issues raised by members of the public included legislative reform in particular in relation to dangerous dogs and cruelty offenses, greater enforcement of current laws, cat management issues including cat containment areas and roaming cats and greater regulation for the pet grooming industry.

View a summary of the comments received as part of the consultation and the ACT Government responses (PDF 454KB) | Word version (DOC 296KB).

Greyhound Welfare and Management

On 23 June 2017, Attorney-General Gordon Ramsay announced the end to the greyhound racing industry in the ACT. It was announced that greyhound racing is to be prohibited in the ACT from 30 June 2018. A government taskforce has been established to assist with the transition.

For information on greyhounds in the ACT and the greyhound re-homing process, please view the Greyhound Welfare and Management factsheet (PDF 97KB) Word version (36KB).

Government responsibilities and the Animal Welfare Act

The government provides minimum standards for the care and use of animals.

Animal Welfare Act 1992 (the Act) regulates offences related to animals such as animal cruelty and is administered by TCCS. TCCS is the government's lead department for animal welfare in the Territory.

The Act allows the Chief Executive to appoint inspectors for the purposes of enforcing the Act. Officers from within the RSPCA have been appointed as inspectors due to their outstanding knowledge of the types of actions or omissions of actions that constitute an offence under the Act.

The Act has a range of enforcement powers to promote and monitor acceptable standards of care, and protect animals from cruelty or welfare offences.

The Act provides the framework for standards of the care and use of animals that achieves a reasonable balance between the welfare of animals and the interests of persons whose livelihood is dependent on animals. It also allows for the effect of advancements in scientific knowledge about animal biology,
and changes in community expectations about practices involving animals.

The Animal Welfare Codes of Practice allow the ACT community to identify the applicable animal welfare standards.

A Code of Practice sets the minimum standard acceptable for dealing with, or interacting with, an animal.

View the Animal Welfare Act 1992 and Codes of Practise on the ACT legislation register.

Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines

Nationally consistent standards and guidelines for the welfare of livestock are being developed, cooperatively by government and livestock industries. The welfare standards and guidelines are based on the revision of the current Model Codes of Practice for the Welfare of Animals.

The welfare standards and guidelines for livestock aim to streamline livestock welfare legislation in Australia, ensuring that it is both practical for industry and results in improved welfare outcomes.

Australian producers have always been aware of their responsibilities for livestock welfare, however, increasing awareness among consumers is placing significant pressure on our livestock industries to improve animal welfare. The development of welfare standards and guidelines underpins access to overseas
markets and reinforces Australia's international leadership in livestock welfare. Without such change Australia risks losing consumer confidence and significant national and international markets.

Further information on the Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines is available on the Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines website.

Animal Welfare Advisory Committee

In 2018-19, TCCS was the ACT Government’s lead agency for animal welfare and administered the Animal Welfare Act 1992 (AW Act), which regulates offences such as animal cruelty.

The AW Act has a range of enforcement powers to promote and monitor acceptable standards of care, and protect animals from cruelty or welfare offences.

The Executive Group Manager, City Operations within TCCS was the appointed Animal Welfare Authority for the ACT.

The government continued its service funding agreement with RSPCA ACT to provide animal welfare services including the provision of authorised inspectors under the AW Act.

As at 30 June 2019, 44 employees of the ACT Government, four inspectors from RSPCA, and all sworn ACT Police officers were appointed as inspectors under the AW Act.

The Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (AWAC) is a statutory committee established under section 109 of the AW Act.

AWAC activities and achievements 2018/19

The AWAC met on 9 occasions in 2018-19 and undertook the following activities:

  • advised the Minister for Transport and City Services on animal welfare matters;
  • collaborated with TCCS in progressing actions under the Animal Welfare & Management Strategy 2017-2022, including conducting a review of animal welfare and management laws in the ACT; and
  • progressed the following Codes of Practice:
    • Welfare of Native Wildlife (Rescue, Rehabilitation and Release);
    • Private Keeping of Native Reptiles;
    • Care and Welfare of Cats;
    • Keeping and Breeding of Racing Greyhounds;
    • Land Transport of Livestock;
    • Care and Welfare of Small Mammals as Pets;
    • Welfare of Horses;
    • Cattle;
    • Small mammal code; and
    • Sheep.

Permits, investigations and prosecutions In 2018-19, the Animal Welfare Authority issued:

  • two circus permits;
  • six licences for the use or breeding of animals for the purpose of research or teaching; and
  • two commercial trapping permits.

During 2018-19, the RSPCA received 1,053 cases complaints/referrals in relation to animal welfare. Inspectors investigated 1024 of these matters, which resulted in prosecution of 7 individuals. One case was finalised this financial year with the offender receiving an 18 month Good Conduct Order, an 18 month animal ban and a $50 fine.
As at 1 July 2019, there were three cases before the courts.

View the TCCS Annual Report 2018-2019 (PDF 8MB)

Humane preparation of crustaceans for consumption at home

Crustaceans fact sheet (PDF 383KB) (Word 31KB)

Provides advice on preparing crustaceans for consumption at home.Crustaceans must be chilled to the point of insensitivity (unconsciousness) prior to being killed. Any other methods of preparing crustaceans for consumption are considered unacceptable and should not be used.

Puppy and kitten farm legislation

Legislation to outlaw puppy and kitten farms in the ACT aims to prevent breeders from intensively breeding female cats and dogs for the local pet market.