Killing cats and dogs because it is cheaper and easier than finding them a permanent home will soon be a crime in NSW.

New legislation outlawing the convenience killing of animals passed both houses of parliament on Thursday.

The bill was brought forward after 15 dogs and puppies were shot by Bourke Shire Council in August 2021, despite at least two rescue organisations offering to take and rehome them.

The council were cleared of any legal wrongdoing after investigations by the RSPCA, the NSW Ombudsman and Office of Local Government.

Animal Justice Party MP Emma Hurst tabled the Companion Animals Amendment (Rehoming Animals) Bill 2021 which was carried to the lower house by independent Alex Greenwich.

“The shooting of these dogs should never have happened. Now we can be sure it will never happen again,” Ms Hurst said.

“This atrocity could have been avoided – our weak laws failed these dogs.”


She said the law will have ongoing benefits, adding “some council pounds have very high kill rates because they are not working with rescues”.

“One NSW pound euthanised nearly 150 dogs and over 130 cats but released less than 40 animals to rescue groups.”

She said the bill was a “mandate” for pounds to work with rescue groups and will stop unnecessary killings where a rescue group is willing to take the animal.

“The community will never accept the killing of healthy, re-homeable animals for the sake of convenience.”

Mr Greenwich congratulated Ms Hurst on her first piece of legislation.

He said NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet’s government were “true to their word” about being open to private members bills with merit.


He said passing the bill as one of the first in 2022 was a “significant sign of respect for the cross-bench”.


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