How many times have we seen a child holding a lizard or a frog asking,  “Can we keep him?” Parents usually say no and the animal is released back into the wild.  But sometimes, that animal will be kept secretly and improperly, without the parents’ knowledge. The same is true for store-bought animals. To prevent this, children in Victoria will no longer be allowed to buy pets without their parents’ permission. -Global Animal

Sydney Morning Herald

Children under the age of 18 will no longer be able to buy pets without their parents’ permission in Victoria if the Brumby government is re-elected.

RSPCA Victoria president Hugh Wirth said he was “thrilled” with the government’s election package of animal protection measures, which includes a ban on selling pets to minors.

Dr Wirth said the change would make it illegal for children to buy pets without their parents’ permission and sellers could face fines of between $1000 and $2000 for doing so.

“The reason we requested the government to do that is by law at age 18 everyone is deemed to be mature enough to make a positive decision and be accountable for that decision,” he said today.

“Whereas a child can go in, purchase an animal that even the parents know nothing about and that animal suffers as a result. [The animal] cannot be looked after properly because nobody in the family knows how to care for it, the child gets rid of it eventually, and it ends up at an RSPCA shelter.”

Other measures in the government’s animal welfare policy include expanding the RSPCA’s powers to enforce laws at pet shops and pet breeding farms, increase desexing requirements, extend holding periods at animal shelters and improve standards at pet shops for exercise and animal socialisation.

Dr Wirth said the RSPCA had lobbied the government for the changes since March.

“The government has responded and it has responded in the way we want it to respond,” he said.

Dr Wirth said the RSPCA had also held talks with the opposition since March and it was “very disappointing” that it had not responded to the RSPCA, apart from publicly saying it would stamp out puppy farming.

“The opposition has been trounced by the government [whose] policy is much stronger,” he said.

Opposition spokesman Simon Troeth said the Coalition would “have more to say” about animal protection measures before the election.

“We released our puppy farming policy a couple of weeks ago,” Mr Troeth said today.

“It is something we are looking closely at and we’ll have more to say about this before the election.”

http://www.smh.com.au/environment/ban-on-children-buying-pets-20101027-173kj.html

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