Animals for Therapeutic Purposes
Review of Housing ACT decisions
This Policy details Housing ACT's requirements for a tenant wishing to keep animals and birds in public rental accommodation. It recognises:
- the need to ensure that pets are kept in a manner which ensures their well being in terms of both their environment (sanitary, comfortable conditions) and the manner in which they are treated (free from cruelty);
- the dangers inherent in keeping a dangerous or vicious animal;
- the importance of animals in people's lives in terms of their therapeutic qualities;
- the need for Housing ACT to protect and maintain its stock of dwellings; and
- that Housing ACT must work in conjunction with other organisations including the RSPCA, the Australian Federal Police and components of the Department of Municipal Services such as the Domestic Animal Service and Environment ACT to ensure appropriate mangement of animals.
This Policy is consistent with the provisions of various relevant Legislation and Codes, including:
- Animal Welfare Act 1992
- Domestic Animal Act 2000
- Animal Diseases Act 1993
- Environment Protection Act 1997
- Environment Protection Regulations 1997
- Various Codes of Practice for the Welfare of Animals ACT
- Disability Discrimination Act 1992
Codes of Practice, information on licences, etc are available on the Internet at www.environment.act.gov.au
or by contacting Environment ACT by telephone on 62079777 or post at PO Box 144 Lyneham ACT 2602.
Caring for your Pets
Tenants are responsible for caring for their pets in a humane manner. Should a Housing ACT staff member witness or be advised of cruel or inhumane treatment of an animal, such as an animal being starved, physically harmed or kept in insanitary conditions, Housing ACT will;
- advise the pet owner of the report/concern; and, depending on the owner's response and/or the circumstances
- involve the appropriate authority such as Environment ACT, the Domestic Animal Service, the Australian Federal Police or the RSPCA.
Controlling your Pets
Tenants are responsible for controlling their pets. Should a pet cause nuisance or display vicious behaviour Housing ACT will investigate and take appropriate follow-up action. If complaints are substantiated, Housing ACT will;
- initiate action to remedy the problem; and/or
- involve an appropriate authority such as Environment ACT, the Domestic Animal Service, the Australian Federal Police or the RSPCA.
Similarly, tenants are responsible for and have agreed to ensure their pets do not damage their dwellings when they endorsed their Tenancy Agreement. It specifies, in Paragraph 63(a) of Attachment A, Prescribed Terms of the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 that;
- The tenant shall take reasonable care of the premises and keep the premises reasonably clean.
- 63 During the tenancy the tenant shall
- (a) not intentionally or negligently damage the premises or permit such damage.
Should a tenant's pet cause damage, Housing ACT will investigate and take appropriate follow-up action.
Ensuring Quiet Enjoyment
Social housing tenants and other members of the community are entitled to quiet enjoyment of their properties. Tenants agree not to impinge on the quiet enjoyment of their neighbours when they endorse their Tenancy Agreement. It specifies, in Paragraph 70 (c) of Attachment A, Prescribed Terms of the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 that;
- The tenant shall not:
- (c) intefere, or permit interference, with the quiet enjoyment of occupiers of nearby premises.
Pets and animals may impinge directly on the quiet enjoyment of neighbours by:
- production of loud and/or consistent noise;
- destruction of property; and/or
- agressive behaviour
and/or indirectly by:
- causing destruction or degradation of the environment; and/or
- production of excreta or waste matter that produces a health risk/hazard.
Tenants who wish to keep pets are required to obtain and maintain any and all applicable licences and registrations and must comply with all applicable ACT Legislation and Codes of Practice.
Tenants who wish to keep animals such as snakes, other reptiles and other "exotic" animals, may be required to have and maintain a licence specific to the breed of animal. Also note that a dog which has been declared dangerous may only be kept if the owner obtains a Dangerous Dog licence.
In all cases tenants are responsible for obtaining and maintaining licences/registrations and must supply details to Housing ACT if requested. Details of licencing/registration requirements are available from Environment ACT as noted above.
If tenants reside in a dwelling which is managed by a Body Corporate under the Unit Titles Act 1970, the rules and by-laws of the Body Corporate and provisions of the Commissioner for Social Housing Tenancy Agreement, Rules of the Complex must be followed. Tenants are advised that in most instances pets, with the exception of animals for therapeutic purposes, are not permitted by Body Corporates.
Animals for therapeutic purposes
Guide dogs, hearing dogs, companion animals and other other assistance animals are welcome in all Housing ACT properties, including those located in Body Corporates. Tenants living in Body Corporate properties are entitled to maintain therapeutic animals as sanctioned under Section 9 of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 covering guide dogs, hearing assistance dogs, and other trained animals, providing documentation indicating the need for such assistance and the training/qualification of the individual assistance animal can be provided.
However, tenants are advised of that their responsibilities, outlined above, apply to all animals in all public enviroments, including Body Corporates.
Review of Housing ACT decisions
There is an established review protocol that includes an internal review mechanism by Housing ACT and where appropriate, access to external review mechanisms.
For copies of brochures contact Housing ACT.
Go to Policy information