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  • Responsible pet ownership

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  • Companion Animals Act 1998

    On-the-spot fines apply under the Companion Animals Act 1998 for:

    • Unleashed dog in a public place
    • Dog not wearing a collar and ID tag in public
    • Animal not permanently identified/microchipped
    • Selling an animal not permanently identified
    • Animal not registered
    • Failure to remove faeces
    • Not notifying change in registration ID
    • Dog or cat in a prohibited place (including school/preschool/kindergarten grounds, shopping centres, public bathing areas including beaches, food preparation areas, sporting fields, playgrounds and wildlife protection areas)
    • Owning a dog that attacks.

    Changes to the law in 2013

    There are also heavy fines for dogs that are declared dangerous or restricted. The NSW Companion Animals Act 1998 was updated in November 2013 by the Companion Animals Amendment Bill 2013, giving councils more options to deal with dangerous dogs and encourage responsible pet ownership, including:
    1. Councils are more able to enforce lifetime registration of cats and dogs. This aims to improve the ability of councils to track cats and dogs through more accurate register data and allow councils to fund further regulatory activity and education programs.
    • An on-the-spot penalty of $275 applies for failing to register a cat or dog by 6 months of age.
    • A companion animal owner who receives notice from Council to register their cat or dog has 14 days to do so (section 10B). Failing to comply with this notice may incur a $275 penalty.

    2. Significant increases to penalties in relation to dog attacks, particularly where the attack is the result of an owner’s recklessness:
    • An on-the-spot fine of $550 applies, for a dog found guilty of an attack. There is a maximum penalty of $22,000 or 2 years imprisonment, under Section 16 (1AA).
    • An on-the-spot fine of $1320 applies for dogs that have already been declared dangerous. There is a maximum penalty of $55,000 or 4 years imprisonment in the case of a declared dangerous, menacing or restricted dog, under Section 16 (1AB).
     
    3. Creation of a clearer dog control framework to provide a broader range of options for councils to use to deal with nuisance, menacing or dangerous dogs:
    • A menacing dog category has been introduced (Section 33A) which may be applied to dogs that show unreasonable aggression towards a person or animal, or are involved in less serious attacks.
    • An authorised officer may declare a dog to be dangerous or menacing if the dog has already been declared dangerous or menacing under a law of another State or Territory (s 34).
    • Councils can immediately seize a dog for the purpose of microchipping and registration after a notice of intention has been issued to declare the dog as menacing, dangerous or restricted (s36).
    • Councils can seize and destroy dangerous dogs where control requirements are breached once, and seize and destroy menacing dogs where control requirements are breached twice in 12 months (s58G).

    Tips for responsible pet ownership

    Cats

    • should be contained inside or in a cat run, particularly at night, to restrict roaming and potential nuisance to neighbours
    • should wear a collar with name, address where it resides and the owner's contact number
    • should have a bell attached to their collar to help reduce their threat to birds

    Dogs

    • should be trained from a young age, to help reduce nuisance barking and increase their socialisation skills
    • need daily exercise for at least half an hour, such as a walk on a lead.

    Visit the  NSW Office of Local Government website for useful information on topics including:

    • barking dogs
    • dog attacks
    • information for breeders
    • responsible pet ownership, including desexing your pet and
    • restricted and dangerous dog breeds. 

    Other useful links

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