Enforcing the Animal Care and Protection Act

Biosecurity Queensland and the RSPCA work in partnership to provide animal welfare services in Queensland. In particular, they share responsibility for enforcing the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001.

Biosecurity Queensland and the RSPCA also educate the community about animal care responsibilities and agreed standards for animal care and use in Queensland.

The role of inspectors

Inspectors from Biosecurity Queensland and the RSPCA investigate complaints about animal care or cruelty and ensure compliance with the Act. Inspectors also help educate animal users about their responsibilities, and promote the Act and other agreed animal welfare standards.

Inspectors have strict training requirements. All Biosecurity Queensland and RSPCA inspectors complete the same training program. They also receive ongoing training in key competency areas as part of their skills development.

Biosecurity Queensland inspectors

Biosecurity Queensland officers appointed as animal welfare inspectors under the Act are located throughout Queensland.

RSPCA inspectors

The RSPCA has about 15 full-time inspectors located in mainly coastal and urban areas. Their main responsibility is to enforce the Act in urban, semi-rural and rural areas.

Their role covers:

  • companion animals
  • riding schools
  • pet shops
  • other types of animal use where the keeping of livestock is not the primary business.


Police officers are not appointed as inspectors under the Act, but can respond to animal welfare complaints under the Police Powers and Responsibilities Act 2000.

The Queensland Police Service is not a primary agency for animal welfare services in Queensland, but does play a key role in addressing emergency animal welfare incidents in areas where the RSPCA or Biosecurity Queensland do not have a local inspector. It also plays a vital role in managing emergency animal welfare incidents involving the transport of livestock.

Inspectors' powers

The Queensland Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 gives inspectors a broad range of enforcement powers, allowing them to investigate and enforce compliance with the Act.

These include powers to:

  • enter places and vehicles
  • inspect animals
  • relieve animal pain
  • copy documents relating to animal welfare investigations
  • issue an animal welfare direction
  • seize an animal
  • destroy an animal.

There are very strict conditions on when and how inspectors may exercise their powers. Therefore, it is critical that all inspectors are properly trained before being appointed. The powers of inspectors are detailed in sections 122-170 of the Act.

Review of decision

If you have received an animal welfare direction, a seizure direction, or a forfeiture notice, you can apply to the Department to have the decision reviewed.

You must apply within 14 days of the notice and use the approved application form (PDF, 140KB).

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