Further information relating to Companion Animals ownership and responsibilities can be found on the Department of Local Government's (DLG) Website or by contacting Council.

LAWS YOU SHOULD BE AWARE OF

Requirements for dog and cat owners:

Dogs and cats must be implanted with a microchip from the time they are 12 weeks of age and before they are sold (whichever occurs first) and must be registered with the Companion Animal Register by the age of 6 months. This is done through your local Council.

General responsibilities of dog owners:

As a dog owner, you must ensure that:

Your dog wears a collar with a name tag containing your dogs name and your address or telephone number

  1. When your dog is in a public place, it is under the affective control of some competent person by means of an adequate chain, chord or leash that is attached to your dog and held by the person

  2. You take all reasonable precautions to prevent your dog from escaping from the property on which it is being kept

  3. Pick up your dog’s faeces immediately. Failing to do so can incur a $275.00 infringement notice

SALES AND PURCHASES

When selling a dog (this includes giving at no cost) the former owner must complete a prescribed change of owner form, this has your name and address details, together with the new owners details, and is then presented to a Council in NSW, that Council will then enter the information onto the Register and post a new certificate of ownership and registration to the new owner.

The former owner is responsible for notifying the change of ownership, not the new owner. The former owner must present the signed form to Council, not the new owner. Failing to do so carries a fine of $165.00.

When purchasing a dog (this includes receiving one at no cost) you must ensure the dog has been microchipped and registered if over the age of 6 months and complete a change of owner form. Do not take the form, just sign it and leave with the former owner to present to a Council. Council will then change information on the register and post out a new certificate of ownership and registration to you.

DECEASED DOGS AND CATS

When a companion animal passes away, no matter the circumstances you as the owner are required to notify your local Council. You will need to supply identification information of the deceased animal. Council will then remove the animal from the register.

MICROCHIPPING

In NSW, all cats and dogs, other than exempt cats and dogs, must be microchipped by 12 weeks of age or before being sold or given away, whichever happens first.

If you fail to have your cat or dog microchipped when required to do so, you may be issued with a fixed penalty notice for $165 or a court may award a maximum penalty of up to $880. Where your dog is a restricted dog or a declared dangerous dog you may be issued with a fixed penalty notice for $1,320 or a court may award a maximum penalty of $5,500.

REGISTRATION

All cats and dogs, other than exempt cats and dog, must be registered by six months of age. The registration fee is once-only a payment, which covers the cat or dog for its lifetime in NSW, regardless of any changes in ownership. You are encouraged to have your cat or dog Desexed before registering it.

Discounted registration fees apply to DE sexed cats or dogs. Having your cat or dog DE sexed prior to registration helps to reduce straying, fighting and aggression and antisocial behavior, such as spraying to mark territory. It also helps to reduce the number of unwanted pets born each year.

Registration fees are used by councils for providing animal management related services to the community. They may include ranger services, pound facilities, dog refuse bins, educational and other companion animal-related activities.

If you fail to register your cat or dog when required to do so you may be issued with a fixed penalty notice of $275, or a court may award a maximum penalty of up to $5500 or up to $6500 if your dog is restricted or a declared dangerous or menacing dog.

DOG REGISTRATION FEES

PRICE

·         DE sexed

·         Non – DE sexed

·         Pensioner DE sexed

·         Recognised Breeder

·         Working Dog

$52.00

$192.00

$21.00

$52.00

$NIL

LIFETIME REGISTRATION

Companion animal Lifetime registration fees are set by the NSW Office of Local Government, which is recommended by the companion animal’s taskforce. They are not issued from local Councils.

PETS AT HOME

Dogs:

You or the person in charge of the dog at the time must take all reasonable precautions to prevent your dog from escaping from the property on which it is being kept.

If you fail to comply with this requirement, you may be liable for a maximum penalty of $880 or $5,500 for a restricted dog, dangerous or menacing dog.

Cats:

You do not have to keep your cat indoors however, it is recommended in the interests of both your cat’s safety and community harmony. Yowling and fighting is more of a problem at night, and the noise is likely to be intrusive and may keep your neighbours awake. By keeping your cat indoors, you can help reduce the number of native birds and animals that are killed in your area as there is evidence that cats hunt more during the night. Consider also containing your cat in a cat enclosure on your premises both during the day and during the night.

Authorised council officers can issue nuisance orders to cat owners in certain circumstances.

PETS IN PUBLIC PLACES

Your dog must, unless it is exempts from this requirements, be under the effective control of a competent person at all times when out in public. This means that it must be on a leash and under the control of someone capable of restraining it. For example, a small child may not be able to control a large dog. Under these circumstances, an adult capable of restraining the dog should walk the dog. A dog is not considered to be under the effective control of a competent person if the person has more than 4 dogs under his or her control.

If you fail to comply with this requirement, you, or if you are not present, the person in control of your dog, if s/he is aged 16 or over, may be liable for a maximum penalty of $1,100 or $11,000 in case of a restricted dog, dangerous or menacing dog.

This requirement does not apply to a dog:

  • in an off-leash area (but only if the total number of dogs of which its owner has control does not exceed 4)

  • engaged in droving, tending or working of stock

  • being exhibited for show purposes

  • participating in an obedience class, trial or exhibition

  • that is a police dog

  • that is a corrective services dog

  • that is in a secured cage or vehicle or tethered to a fixed object or structure

LOST AND FOUND

What to do if your cat or dog is missing:

If your cat or dog has been missing for more than 72 hours, you must notify your local council within 24 hours. If your dog is a restricted dog or a declared dangerous or menacing dog and it is missing, you must notify your local council within 24 hours of your first noticing that your dog has gone missing. Your local council will change the status of your cat or dog on the NSW Companion Animals Register to ‘missing’, which will lock the microchip record until your cat or dog is found or has returned home in order to prevent a person who is claiming to be your pet’s owner.

It is important to confirm with your local council that your contact details are correct when you report your pet as missing, so that you can be contacted when your cat or dog is found.

What to do when your cat or dog is found:

You must notify your local council within 72 hours of your cat or dog being found or returning home after being reported as missing. This will enable your local council to unlock the microchip record and update the NSW Companion Animals Register.

What to do when you have found a stray dog:

If you have found a dog that you believe to be a stray, you should first check to see it is wearing a collar and tag. If it is, use the contact details on the tag to contact the owner. If it is not wearing a collar and tag, you must by law, take the dog to a council pound, an approved animal welfare organization or approved premises (usually a veterinary practice). The dog can then be scanned for a microchip, the owner’s contact details obtained from the NSW Companion Animals Register and the owner contacted and re-united with their dog.

While councils are not obliged to collect stray animals, many councils offer this as a complimentary service for their ratepayers. However, councils are obliged to accept animal’s that are seized by members of the public and are taken to the council’s holding facility/pound.

What to do when you have found a stray cat:

Any person can lawfully seize a cat, owned or un-owned, whether in a private or public place, if that action is reasonable and necessary for the protection of any person or animal (other than vermin) from injury or death, providing that action meets the animal welfare requirements of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979.

While councils are not obliged to collect stray animals, many councils offer this as a complimentary service for their ratepayers. However, councils are obliged to accept animals that are seized by members of the public and are taken to the council’s holding facility/pound.

PROHIBITED AREAS

Dogs:

All dogs, apart from police and corrective service dogs and genuine assistance dogs, are banned from:

  • within 10 metres of a children’s play area

  • within 10 metres of food preparation or consumption areas, except cafes or restaurants whose owners permit dogs (not restricted dogs or declared dangerous dogs) in their outdoor dining areas

  • recreation areas where dogs are prohibited

  • public bathing areas where dogs are prohibited

  • school grounds

  • child care centres

  • shopping centres where dogs are prohibited

  • wildlife protection areas

Cats:

Cats are banned from public areas where food is produced or consumed and from wildlife protection areas. There is considerable concern in the community about cats injuring or killing native wildlife.

Although the Companion Animals Act 1998 does not require you to contain your cat on your premises, you should consider doing so for your   cat’s own safety and for the protection of native wildlife.

You can contain your cat on your premises by keeping it indoors or by building a cat enclosure on your premises.

COLLARS

Dogs:

In addition to being microchipped all dogs, except working dogs, must wear a collar and tag that shows the dog’s name and your address or telephone number when outside its own property.

If you fail to comply with this requirement, you may be liable for a maximum penalty of $880 or $5,500 for a restricted dog, dangerous or menacing dog.

Cats:

All cats, except cats being exhibited at a show or in transit to or from a show at which they will be exhibited, must have some for of identification when in a public place.

Cats born before 1st July 1999 (when the Companion Animals Act 1998 came into force) must be identified with either a microchip or a collar and tag with the cat’s name and your address or telephone number on it.

Cats born after 1st July 1999 (when the Companion Animals Act 1998 came into force) do not have to wear a collar and tag with your contact details on it, but must be microchipped and lifetime-registered (unless they are exempt from these requirements).

If you fail to comply with this requirement, you may be liable for a maximum penalty of $880.

DESEXING

Although you do not have to have your cat or dog desexed, unless it is a restricted dg or a declared dangerous or menacing dog, there are benefits in doing so for you and your animal:

  • a greatly reduced lifetime-registration fee applies for a cat or dog that has been desexed

  • your cat or dog is less likely to stray, be aggressive, fight or spray to mark its territory

  • it helps reduce unwanted pets and pet overpopulation 

There is no scientific evidence to show that it is better to allow an animal to have on litter before being DE sexed.

Desexing before 6 months of age is recommended. If you cannot afford to have your cat or dog DE sexed, speak to your vet or an animal welfare organisation as they may be able to help.


Downloads

The Department of Local Government has  developed a series of brochures to promote responsible pet ownership practices and to remind pet owners of their responsibilities under the Companion Animals Act 1998.

Information for Cat Owners (PDF 1.02MB)

Information for Dog Owners (PDF 1.03MB)

Restricted & Dangerous Dogs (PDF 1.01MB)

Dogs in Rural Communities (PDF 1.01MB)