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The local council and your dog

Updated: Nov 24, 2023

Did you know, that local councils have rules that apply to pet dogs? It is important to look up the specific regulations within your local council area to avoid any nasty fines. Many councils don’t widely advertise requirements such as lifetime registration fees and families are often caught out.


Common rules that apply to most dog owners in Australia

white dog jumping in air over lawn

Your council will probably require a 'lifetime registration fee' to be paid for your dog.

  • This fee is paid directly to them and is in addition to any microchip registration fees that you, or your breeder, may already have paid to a microchip database. Many councils have an age limit by which time a new puppy must be registered with them, otherwise you may face a fine.

  • If you move house into a new council, then you must update the address attached to your pet’s microchip and sometimes, pay another lifetime registration fee to the new council. This is often required within a couple of weeks of moving to avoid a fine.

  • The registration fee is often cheaper if your pet has been desexed, and your council may have age restrictions or recommendations for desexing.

  • There is usually no registration fee for a registered assistance animal, such as a guide dog.

Some councils have restrictions on the number of dogs you can have on one property.

  • If you would like to keep a larger number of dogs, you may need to apply to the council for an exemption, or license.

Most councils require a dog to carry identification when off your property, such as a collar and tag.

red collar with gold tag on dog's neck

Dogs are always required to be on a lead in public.

  • Except in council-designated ‘off-leash areas’, such as a dog park or dog beach.

  • Dogs are required to always be 'under the effective control of their owners', even when off leash. This means you must be able to call your dog back to you if needed.

brown dog on lead in a field

It is compulsory to carry poo bags and pick up after your dog if they defecate in public spaces.

red dog poo bin

There are many locations where dogs are technically not allowed:

  • Food preparation areas

  • On school or childcare premises

  • In wildlife protection areas

  • Within 10 metres of playground equipment

kids' play area surrounded by trees

Dogs are usually prohibited in National Parks and Reserves.

  • This is very important to bear in mind, because it is legal for the council to use 1080 fox poison in any reserve areas where dogs are banned. If you ever see a sign warning of 1080 fox baiting in an area where you have let your dog off lead, call them back straight away and leave. 1080 poison is lethal to dogs and very distressing.

track through the bush with trees and ferns

Nuisance dog orders.

  • Dogs can be declared a ‘nuisance dog’ if they are reported to the council for repeated barking, property damage, chasing of people, animals, or cars, or for constantly escaping from your property.

small dog standing in water barking

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