PEOPLE who accidentally or irresponsibly breed cats and dogs could have thousands of reasons to change their ways, when new laws come into force on advertising animals for sale or giveaway.
But hopes are guarded among some of the region's animal welfare and rehoming volunteers, ahead of the changes due within weeks.
Gunnedah RSPCA branch president Cheryl Sharman said she would "like to see it work", but she felt education and support was the key to most animal welfare issues.
"I really don't know how it's going to go ... it all comes down to people's knowledge and people's monetary situation," Mrs Sharman said.
The NSW government's change to the Companion Animals Act 1998 and Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979 will take effect on July 1.
People advertising cats or dogs - except working dogs - will have to include a number for the microchip, breeder identification or rehoming organisation.
It's hoped this will help people search NSW Pet Registry for information on the animal's breed, age, sex, and desexing status.
The rules will apply to ads anywhere, such as in newspapers, on community notice boards and online - including Facebook pages.
People who don't comply could be issued with an on-the-spot fine, or a court appearance and a penalty of up to $5500.
Money, knowledge the issue
Although she is "hoping it's going to make a difference" by deterring backyard breeders, Mrs Sharman said it could also lead to owners dumping litters with rescue groups so they didn't have to pay for microchipping or a possible fine.
"We get so many calls already and can only take so many," she said.
"A lot of it is people not having the funds to desex their animals.
"It would be nice if there was some sort of government scheme that would help - we do where possible, but you can't pay for everything.
"I really don't know how the new laws are going to go - but I'd like to see it work."
Tamworth RSPCA branch secretary Brian Pierce said "the sooner it happens, the better".
"It'll still happen, though - the backyard breeding stuff. I can't see that being stamped out terribly easily.
"It's the bane of animal welfare around the country."
Both local branches have recently held free microchipping and vaccination days, with the help of other agencies such as RSPCA NSW and local vets.
They both also offer help with desexing animals.
Mrs Sharman said the Gunnedah volunteers had run a voucher scheme about 19 months ago, working with the local vet practices.
"We got 180 animals desexed [in about six months] and it did make a difference for a while: we didn't get a lot of calls about puppies or kittens."
- Looking for a cat or dog? Visit www.adoptapet.com.au online and choose Gunnedah under the location drop down menu, or visit the RSPCA Gunnedah Volunteer Branch Facebook page.