2018 June - Prohibited procedures
The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979 (s 12(1)) provides that a person shall not perform any of the following procedures on animals
a. dock the tail of a horse, bull, ox, bullock, steer, cow, heifer, calf or dog
b. crop the ears of a dog
c. operate upon a dog for the purpose of preventing the dog from being able to bark
d. remove one or more of the claws of a cat
e. grind, trim or clip one or more teeth of a sheep
f. perform a clitoridectomy on a greyhound, or
g. fire or hot iron brand the face of an animal.
However, some prohibited procedures may be performed in prescribed circumstances
These prescribed circumstances and conditions are specified in the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Regulation 2012
1. A veterinarian may dock the tail of a cow, heifer or female calf that is 6 months of age or older if the docking is necessary to treat an injury or disease of the animal (cl 20)
2. A veterinarian may debark a dog (cl 21) if the veterinarian is provided with:
a. a copy of an order issued under the Companion Animals Act 1998 (s 21) requiring the owner of the dog (whether or not the existing owner) to prevent it from engaging in nuisance barking, and
b. a statutory declaration by the owner of the dog to the effect of the following:
i. all reasonable steps other than the operation, such as behavioural training or caging of the dog, have been taken, without success, to prevent the dog engaging in nuisance barking, and
ii. unless the operation is performed, the dog will be destroyed.
3. A veterinarian may remove one or more claws of a domestic cat if he or she is provided with complying documents for the cat and a statutory declaration to the effect that:
i. all reasonable steps (other than removing the cat’s claws), such as behavioural training or caging of the cat, have been taken without success to prevent the cat causing the damage, injury or death referred to in the complying documents, and
ii. the cat will be destroyed unless its claws are removed.
Complying documents for a cat are:
a. a copy of an order under the Companion Animals Act 1998 (s 31) requiring the owner of the cat (whether or not the existing owner) to prevent the cat from repeatedly damaging with its claws anything outside the property on which it is ordinarily kept, or
b. a statutory declaration to the effect that:
i. the cat has caused repeated and unacceptable damage with its claws to anything on the property on which it is ordinarily kept, or
ii. the cat has repeatedly injured humans, or
iii. the cat has repeatedly injured or killed animals (whether or not wildlife), other than vermin.
4. A veterinarian may dock the tail of a dog if it is in the interests of the dog’s welfare (s 12(2A)).
The Veterinary Practice Regulation 2013 (sch 2 cl 15) requires that the veterinarian must make a detailed record as soon as practicable when any of the above procedures is performed, the record must be in sufficient detail for another veterinarian to continue the treatment of the animal and the veterinarian must retain this record for at least 3 years.
Please also note that in addition to the above standard record keeping requirements, the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Regulation 2012 (cl 23) requires that the veterinarian must maintain a register with consecutively numbered pages, separate from other records for that animal, in writing and including the following information:
a. the full name and residential address of the owner of the animal on which the procedure was carried out
b. the type of procedure
c. the justification for the procedure
d. the date on which the procedure was carried out
e. a full description of the animal on which the procedure was carried out, including:
i. if available, its age, name, breed and electronic identification information (including identification number), and
ii. a description of any distinctive markings
f. the name of the veterinary practitioner.
Further, any statutory declaration (or a copy of any statutory declaration for an electronic register) or copy of an order required to be provided for debarking or declawing to the veterinary practitioner who carried out the procedure is to be kept in the register.