Someone who fosters a dog or cat in their home is no more an animal shelter than someone who fosters a child is an orphanage. Victorian Pounds have received clarification from the DPI that they can release animals to rescue groups who do not run an animal shelter. We’re happy to see reason prevail here.

Use of s.84Y written agreements by Councils to rehouse dogs and cats
The Domestic Animals Act 1994 (Act) provides Council under S.84Y with an ability to enter
into written agreements with any person or body to sell or dispose of dogs and cats seized or
surrendered to Council under the Act. Concerns have been raised since the issue of Council
Bulletin 43 that Councils may believe that they are not permitted to enter into these
agreements with people who are not registered as animal shelters.
Council has the power under S.84Y of the Act to enter into a written agreement with any
person or body, whether they are registered as an animal shelter or not, as long as the Council
provides in the agreement that the person or body comply with the statutory obligations that
the Council must adhere to under the Act and Code of Practice.
When a Council seizes a dog or cat under the Act, the Council must abide by the following
  • S.84O(3) – If the owner fails to recover a dog or cat seized under the Act, the Council can only sell or destroy the animal;
  • Code – Council must assess if the dog or cat is appropriate on health and temperament grounds to sell back into the community;
  • S.84U – Council must de-sex a dog or cat that they propose to sell;
  • S.12A – Council must implant a microchip into a dog or cat prior to selling;
  • Code – Council must vaccinate and worm a dog or cat prior to selling (all vaccinated animals must be held in quarantine for 8 days before sale).
Council could enter into a written agreement with any animal shelter, rescue group, foster
carer or individual person as long as they meet the obligations of Council cited above, before
the animal is sold, or given for a zero price, to a new owner. Council should construct the
written agreement to ensure that the person or group understands and commits to these
obligations. Council is responsible to monitor that such an agreement is complied with.
With regard to animals surrendered to Councils by their owners, these could also be provided
through the S.84Y agreements at the discretion of the Council, as it owns the animals.
This publication may be of assistance to you but the State of Victoria and its employees do not guarantee that
the publication is without flaw or is wholly appropriate for your particular purposes and therefore disclaims all
liability for any error, loss or other consequence which may arise from you relying on any information in this
Private ownership and foster care arrangements that keep small numbers of animals by a
person in their private residential accommodation, as pet dogs or cats would be, does not
constitute an animal shelter. The numbers of animals on such premises must comply with
Council planning provisions for pet animals and protection of their welfare is underpinned by
the welfare codes for dogs and cats and the provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to
Animals Act 1986.
But where a premises sets up with facilities in which animals are kept and maintained by
staff specifically for shelter and rehousing, for example organisations such as Lost Dogs
Home, RSPCA, Lort Smith Animal Hospital and Cat Protection Society, then these
establishments must be registered in view of the numbers of animals being kept, processed
and held on site for sale. Councils were encouraged in Council Bulletin 43 to ensure that
such animal shelters receiving animals from them are registered with the Council in which
they were operating.