How old is that puppy in the window?
That’s the question shoppers buying a pooch from a Victorian pet store now need to ask.
Newborn puppies and kittens won’t be allowed to be sold in pet shops under new laws that took effect on Sunday.
Only dogs older than six months and cats more than eight weeks, sourced from registered pounds, animal shelters or enrolled foster carers, will be available to buy.
Breeding businesses won’t be able to run or own a pet shop either, under the new state laws.
‘‘This is an industry being run out of town by government,’’ Victorian Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford said on Friday.
‘‘We have permanently broken the link between pet shops and animal breeding.’’
The law aims to stamp out puppy farms and give people peace of mind about where their new pet came from, Ms Pulford said.
The government will also give $4.3million for further reforms, including a new pet exchange register to start mid-2019.
‘‘Victorians can now feel confident when purchasing from a pet shop that their new family member is not from a cruel or barbaric factory farm,’’ Ms Pulford said.
RSPCA Victoria chief executive Liz Walker said inspectors would be out in force to check compliance.
Dr Walker said the laws would give older animals a better chance to find a home.
‘‘We’re excited to think that anyone wanting to buy or obtain a puppy or kitten will be able to work out exactly where it was bred, and if they choose, check the welfare of both the breeding mothers and their babies out for themselves,’’ she said.
The puppy farms and pet shops legislation passed state parliament in December.