Keeping animals

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Your responsibilities as a pet owner include registering and microchipping your dog or cat, and making sure it isn’t a nuisance to your neighbours or other animals. You can also keep chickens in your yard as long as you follow our guidelines. 

Register and microchip your pet

The Companion Animals Act sets out the rules for pet ownership in NSW. This includes the requirement for dogs and cats to be microchipped and registered.

  • Your dog or cat must be microchipped and registered by six months of age.
  • By four months of age your cat should be desexed. An annual permit is required for cats who are not desexed after this age.
  • There are additional fees for dogs not desexed, restricted breeds and dogs declared as dangerous.
  • Desexing and microchipping can be done by your vet.

Register your pet

Registering your pet can be done online or in person. Our step-by-step guide will provide you with the necessary information for registering and microchipping your pet.

Dogs

As a dog owner, it is your responsibility to ensure:

  • Dogs are safely contained in their yard
  • Dogs are always kept on a leash outside of their yard (unless in a designated off-leash area)
  • Your dog has adequate access to food, water, shelter and play toys
  • Your dog doesn't persistently bark, which would unreasonably interfere with the peace, comfort, or convenience of another person
  • You always carry a poop disposal bag when exercising your dog to pick up your dog droppings on public property 
  • Your dog doesn't chase or hurt another person or animal
  • Your dog doesn't damage other people's property

Dog attacks

If a dog attack occurs:

  1. Seek medical attention urgently for any injured people.
  2. Take any injured animal to a vet – even minor wounds can become infected.
  3. Report the dog attack to us. The complaint will be investigated, and witnesses may be asked to give a statement.

If there are medical or vet bills after a dog attack:

  • The law states that the owner of an attacking dog is liable for costs relating to the injury of a person, injury of an animal, or damage to property.
  • You’ll need to seek legal advice for assistance with claiming costs.

Lost dogs

If you’ve lost a dog:

  1. Report your pet as lost on the NSW Pet Registry.
  2. Contact our animal shelter to see if your pet has been picked up by one of our rangers.
  3. Call local vets in the area, as lost animals are often handed in to vets.

Greyhounds as pets

There’s no longer a requirement for greyhounds to be muzzled in public, but there are still some requirements for keeping greyhounds as pets. These include:

  • A greyhound must be muzzled in an off-leash area if the animal hasn’t undergone an approved retraining program.
  • A greyhound that has completed an approved retraining program must wear a green collar, or the owner must carry a ‘proof of completion’ card.
  • A greyhound that has been declared menacing or dangerous must be muzzled.

Greyhound owners may still muzzle their dog at their discretion if they feel it is needed.

Further information about greyhound ownership can be found on the Office of Local Government website.

Reporting dog issues

You can report a barking dog or other dog issues to us and we will investigate the issue. 

Cats

Statistics show that it’s safer for cats to be kept indoors. Keeping a cat indoors:

  • Leads to a longer and healthier life (statistically)
  • Protects native wildlife
  • Can prevent neighbourhood conflict caused by noisy or roaming cats
  • Protects your cat from other animals

Outdoor enclosures are an alternative to keeping a cat indoors.

Roaming cats

There’s no law prohibiting cats from roaming, but there may be consequences if your cat roams beyond your property or is considered a nuisance. The Companion Animals Act outlines what constitutes a nuisance cat and what you’re responsible for as a cat owner.

For cat owners:

  • If your cat causes a nuisance to neighbours, through noise, damaging property or attacking other animals, the Act requires that you act to prevent the cat from doing so.
  • If your cat roams onto private property, the owner of the property has the right to catch your cat and take your cat to the pound

What to do if you find a stray cat

If you find a cat, we suggest you:

  • Check the neighbourhood to determine whether it’s owned by anyone nearby.
  • Take it to a local vet to see if the cat is microchipped.
  • Contact our animal shelter to arrange to bring the animal to us. 

Report cat issues

If you would like to make a report regarding an issue with a cat, use our reporting cat issues form. 

Chickens

You can keep up to five hens (but no roosters) in most residential areas, and up to 10 chickens (including roosters) on larger non-residential properties. There are NSW government regulations regarding the type of enclosure you can have on your property for housing poultry.

Keeping chickens in residential areas

You need to ensure your chickens:

  • Are kept in your backyard.
  • Have an adequately sized pen for the number of chickens you keep.
  • Have their pen swept at least twice a week.
  • Don’t roam outside the property in which they are kept. 

Enclosure requirements for chickens

NSW Environment Planning laws set out the requirements for chicken pens or hen houses. Some of these requirements include:

  • Pens must be in the backyard.
  • Pens are to be positioned a minimum of 4.5 metres from any dwelling.
  • Pens need to be located at least 3 metres from the property boundary.
  • Pens should include a solid floor under the roosts or perches.
  • Pens should be enclosed to prevent animals escaping.
  • Roof water should be disposed of without causing nuisance to adjoining neighbours.

Requirements can vary depending on the residential zone or bushfire rating of the property, so be sure to refer to the legislation

When pets die

If your dog or cat has passed away, you’ll need to notify us within 28 days or within 24 hours (for restricted breeds or dogs declared dangerous) so that we can update our registration records. We’ll need documentary evidence from a vet, indicating that your animal has died. 

Disposing of a deceased pet

There are several options for disposing of a deceased pet but please don’t place the animal in your domestic bin. These are: 

  • You can choose to bury your animal in your backyard
  • You can take your pet to our Cairncross Waste Facility (disposal fees apply)
  • If the animal died at the vets, or was euthanised, ask your vet about disposal options
  • You may like to contact a pet cremation service

If you find a deceased animal

If you find dead wildlife that isn’t someone’s pet, please contact JR Richards on 1300 787 223. They will dispose of the animal properly. If you find a dead animal that may be someone’s pet:

  • Check the surrounding neighbourhood to see if the animal lived nearby
  • Take it to a vet to see if it has a microchip