Your responsibilities as a pet owner

Pets play an important and positive role in the lives of not only their owners, but also the wider community.

An important part of being an owner of a companion animal is to ensure your pets are kept safe and don't create a nuisance.

To ensure the comfort, safety and health of the whole community, the Companion Animals Act 1998 places certain responsibilities on all pet owners.

As a handy guide, the NSW Office of Local Government provides information on Responsible Pet Ownership including specific details on:

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

They also provide details of on-the-spot fines under the Companion Animals Act 1998, such as:

  • 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 area (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.

There are also heavy fines for dogs that are declared dangerous or restricted.


Cats should be contained inside or in a cat run, particularly at nights, to restrict roaming and potential nuisance to neighbours.

They should wear a collar with name, address where it resides and the owner's contact number.

Consider also attaching a bell to their collar to help reduce their threat to birds.


Keep your dog/s healthy, safe and avoid fines by being aware of, and following, these essential tips:

  • To stay healthy and avoid boredom associated problems, dogs need to be exercised regularly
  • No matter how friendly, a roaming dog can be at risk of harm or risk of harming other dogs, animals and people in adverse situations or otherwise, so don’t allow your dog to roam
  • Ensure your dog is registered (and microchipped if applicable)
  • Carry bags so you can pick up your dog’s faeces from public places and put it in a bin
  • Ask your adjoining owner if your dog creates any nuisance problems, and correct them
  • Train your dog not to bark (Council can help you with this). Dog trainers can also help to solve barking and other dog behavioural problems
  • Ensure your dog is friendly and comfortable with people to avoid dog attacks.
  • In public places, keep your dog under ‘effective control’. This means on-leash and restrained by the person holding the leash (unless the dog is specially exempted), and not more than four dogs per handler
  • Take care to choose the best dog with characteristics that suit your circumstances
  • Have your dog desexed if you are not a registered breeder.


Be sure to check in your area for local dog obedience classes. Dog trainers can help to solve barking and other dog behavioural problems.