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Information on the Land Protection (Pest and Stock Route Management) Act 2002 for Veterinary Surgeons.

Prohibited mammals, reptiles and amphibians


Under the Land Protection (Pest and Stock Route Management) Act 2002 (the Act), the keeping of most exotic animals as pets is prohibited in Queensland. Zoos and circuses can keep certain exotic species for exhibition purposes, but only under permit and under strict conditions of keeping.

In other countries numerous species that are derived from the pet trade have become serious pests. Examples include various lizards, snakes, frogs, salamanders, toads, turtles, chipmunks, hedgehogs and caimans.

For this reason, keeping many species of exotic animals as pets is prohibited by legislation.

Animals that are allowed:

Domestic animals that can be legally kept in Queensland without a permit are:
Dogs, Cats, Horses, Goats, Donkeys, Guinea pigs, Rats, Mice, Domestic Pigs, Domestic Deer, Cattle, Alpacas, Llamas, common cage birds such as cockatiels, lovebirds and budgerigars

Native animals as pets:

Some native animals can be kept under the Nature Conservation Act 1992 and the Nature Conservation Regulation 1994. Marsupials and monotremes cannot be kept except for rehabilitation purposes. Permits are required to keep most species of reptiles and amphibians and some birds. Contact the Department of Environment and Heritage (DEHP) if unsure of permit requirements.

Veterinarian's Obligation:

It is not a direct offence under current legislation for a veterinarian to treat an illegally kept pet, as the owner of the pet has legal responsibility for the animal. The veterinarian may choose to advise the owner of the possible repercussions of illegally keeping a declared pest animals. Animals can be seized and destroyed under the Act and the owner may be prosecuted.

However the legislation prohibits keeping, feeding, releasing or supplying a declared pest animal. This means that the following examples are all offences under the legislation:

  1. Boarding an illegally kept pet. This would be defined as keeping under the Act (maximum penalty $44 000 for keeping a Class 2 pest such as a rabbit, $88 000 for keeping a Class1 pest such as a ferret).
  2. Rehoming an illegally kept pet is defined as supplying under the Act (maximum penalty $44 000 for supplying a Class 2 pest such as a rabbit, $88 000 for supplying a Class1 pest such as a ferret).
  3. Releasing a declared pest animal such as a wild rabbit, fox or feral pig is an offence (maximum penalty $44 000 for releasing a Class 2 pest). This means that when a member of the public hands in a declared pest animal, the veterinarian may not treat and release the animal. The animal may be humanely euthanased or may be passed to the Local Government or DAFF. It is not legal to send a declared pest interstate as the period of transport is defined as keeping under the Act.
  4. The practice of Trap, Neuter, Release (TNR) for feral cats is not legal as this is the release of a declared pest animal.
  5. Dingoes can not be kept by individuals in Queensland.

Some species may be legally kept interstate but are not permitted in Queensland. Even if the owner holds a permit in another State, if the owner brings the animal into Queensland without reasonable excuse, the animal may be legally seized.

For all enquires, please phone 13 25 23 and ask to speak to the local Invasive Plants and Animals Biosecurity Officer

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