Who has a duty of care to animals?

The Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 (Qld) states that any person in charge of an animal owes a duty of care to that animal.

A person is 'in charge' if they meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • owns or has a lease, licence or other proprietary interest, in the animal
  • has custody of the animal, including care or control of the animal
  • employs or engages someone else who has custody of the animal, and that custody is within the scope of the employment or engagement.

If you are in charge of an animal, this usually means that either:

  • you own the animal
  • the animal is in your care or under your control (i.e you have custody of the animal).

Examples of people in charge of animals

Animals used for sport and recreation

Owners, horse riders, grooms, trainers, syndicate owners, and stable staff and animal transporters that are involved with horse and dog racing, show jumping, dressage, rodeos, camp drafts, horse and pony events and breed shows

Animals used in entertainment or exhibition

Owners, animal handlers, animal trainers, producers and animal care staff who are involved with circuses, zoos, animal nurseries, animals at children's parties, wildlife, safari and marine parks, films, television shows and expos

Animals used for scientific purposes

Teachers, postgraduate students, school principals, animal scientists, conservation and wildlife groups, environmental consultants, animal technicians and care staff who are involved with teaching, field trials, research, product testing, diagnosis, environmental studies and the production of biological products

Feral and pest animals

Pest controllers, professional hunters, recreational hunters, feral animal control operators and contractors when they are confining, housing or transporting these animals

Animals used for work

Owners, carers, trainers, operators and contractors who are involved with guard dogs, dogs used in hunting and shooting, cattle and sheep dogs, sniffer dogs, stockhorses, police horses and dogs, seeing and hearing dogs, rodent control cats and dogs

Animals used in education

Owners, teachers, instructors, students and animal care staff who are involved with universities, colleges and schools, classroom pets, riding schools, dog obedience and agility schools


Owners, animal carers, wildlife park operators and staff, and zookeepers who are involved in keeping, caring or exhibiting wildlife

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