Whether pet sitting is a side hobby, or you are growing your business, it’s important you are aware of the legal requirements and rules that need to be adhered to while caring for Floofs.
Public Liability cover is a legal requirement for people looking after pets for money
In Australia and by law, pets are considered property and by having your own pet care business, you can be liable for damage and injuries to another person or property. The person who is in control of the animal at the time of an injury or accident is the one responsible and will need to cover the costs.
Accidents happen, and the costs for damage or injury can quickly add up and leave a pet carer out of pocket. By booking with a pet care platform such as Floofers, you can remain stress-free, knowing you are covered by public liability insurance. You can read more about ‘The Floofs Insured’ insurance here.
Permit & Licensing
All pet carers are solely responsible for gaining any licenses or permits for their area as well as following compliance with state and council regulations.
Requirements may vary by location, so always check with your local government to learn about the regulations for where you live. For example, in Victoria, you can only have two dogs in your home overnight without a permit.
Pet carers may be required to have an ABN
As a pet carer in Australia, you need to be aware of any tax obligations you might have, and you may be required to have an ABN. Having an ABN totally depends on your individual circumstances and whether your pet care income reaches a certain level in the financial year (from 1 July – 30 June). In most cases, being a pet carer will not require having an ABN unless you are able to make $18,200 a year or more from pet sitting and dog walking.
If you do pass the $18,200 threshold, the Australian government will classify this work as more than a hobby and instead, as a business. Always refer to the Australian Taxation Office website or call 132 861 for more information and discuss any queries with an accountant.
Pet carers have a legal duty of care toward an animal
According to the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001, all pet sitters and dog walkers have a legal duty of care to the animal currently in their care, regardless of the circumstances.
The legal duty of care includes:
- Providing food and water
- Providing accommodation or living conditions
- Understanding the pet’s normal behavioural patterns
- Treating disease and injury
- Handling the pet appropriately
There are fines for breaking local laws
Pet carers can be fined for breaking any local council laws. Some examples include failure to pick up faeces or a dog not being on a leash in an on-leash area. Local council officers are often patrolling dog parks and dog-friendly areas so being aware of the laws and doing the right thing can ensure you avoid a fine.
Always visit your local city website to find out what fines you may receive for breaking local laws such as the City of Melbourne website if you are residing in Melbourne.
The pet carer must ensure the pet owner is also following legal obligations
As well as being a responsible pet carer, it is important to ensure the pet owner has also followed their legal obligations as a responsible pet owner. With Floofers, this information is usually discussed during a meet and greet prior to booking. Please ensure that:
- The pet is microchipped with up-to-date details.
- The pet is up to date with vaccinations.
- The pet is registered with the council and wearing a collar with council registration tags and an ID tag with the name and number of the pet owner.
- The pet has enough food and medication (if required) for the time the pet owner is away.
- If going on walks, the pet owner has provided a leash and poo bags.
- If traveling in a car, the pet owner has provided a harness and seat belt attachment. Pets are not allowed to travel unrestrained.
- The dog is not declared a dangerous dog (restricted breed) by the council.
- The pet owner has disclosed whether their pet is prone to escaping (e.g. can jump over high fences). Having an escaped pet, which is off-leash and uncontrollable can lead to a hefty fine.
- The pet owner has discussed whether their pet is desexed or not and when they would be on heat if not desexed. If the pet is on heat, the pet is legally not allowed to go out in public.