Dogs and Cats (Companion Animals)

Dogs and cats are great companions which require commitment. See what's required to be a responsible pet owner.

Many of us are pet owners of either dogs and or cats, which are defined as 'companion animals'.

The Companion Animals Act and Companion Animals Regulation 2008 is the legislation that exists for our pet's safety and for the protection and benefit of the wider community and environment. The legislation sets out the responsibilities expected of pet owners and give councils the power to assist and, where necessary, enforce the law to ensure that all owners meet their responsibilities.

Your responsibilities

As a pet owner you must ensure to:

  • Microchip your pets - In NSW, all cats and dogs (other than exempt cats or dogs) must be microchipped by 12 weeks of age or before being sold or given away, whichever happens first.
  • Register your pets - All cats and dogs must be registered by six months of age and you are encouraged to have them desexed before registration.
  • Make certain your pet has identification - Whilst your pet is not at home and in a public place they must wear a collar or some form of identification tag which allows the owner to be contacted.

Exemptions: If you own a cat born before 1 July 1999 and ownership has not changed, a working dog used for tending stock on a rural property or a greyhound currently registered under the Greyhound Racing Act 2009, you are not required to have your pet identified or registered. However, for its protection, you should have it either microchipped, or wearing an ID tag or collar.

Dog and cat owners

As a responsible pet owner you must ensure:

  • your dog is under the control of a competent person and is on a leash in a public place.
  • you pick up and dispose of your dog faeces if they defecate in a public space.
  • that your dog does not rush at, chase, harass or attack any person or animal.
  • that your pet is not causing a nuisance, whether by making a persistent noise, straying or interfering with other people's property.
  • that your pet does not enter children's play areas, food preparation areas, community centres, schools, wildlife protection areas or recreation and shopping areas.

In an effort to protect our native animal populations Council also strongly encourages all cat owners to keep cats indoors at night, to not feed stray cats, have your cat wear a bell on its collar and properly house your cats when away.

Dangerous Dogs

If you are the owner of a dangerous dog or restricted dog there are additional responsibilities, which you are expected to meet.

View the control requirements specified under The Companion Animals Act for dangerous and menacing dogs and or restricted dogs.

Barking dogs and nuisance animals

Both dogs and cats can be declared to be a nuisance by Council if it is established that the dog repeatedly barks, damages other people's property or chases people, animals or vehicles and if it is established that your cat persistently makes a noise that unreasonably interferes with the wellbeing of neighbours or repeatedly damages other people’s property.

If you are experiencing this type of situation, Council recommends that in the first instance you speak with the pet owner, as they are often unaware there is even an issue. Many complaints can be resolved through this approach. However, if you are not satisfied with the owner's response or this does not resolve the issue within a timely period, then please contact Council's Citizen Services team on 02 4934 9700.