Legal requirements for dog owners
The law aims to protect animals from neglect and cruelty as well as protecting the community from animals becoming a nuisance or danger.
If you don't comply with legal requirements, such as microchipping, registration and confinement of dogs to your property, you can be fined.
Check with your council to see if they have any local laws that may require dogs to be desexed, or any other local laws that may apply to dog ownership.
Under animal cruelty legislation, if you mistreat or fail to properly care for your dog you can be prosecuted and face fines, jail or a ban on owning an animal.
The use of electronic collars (such as Anti-Bark, remote training and containment collars) is strictly regulated.
It is illegal to tail dock, ear crop or debark dogs. You can find out more by reading the information about Prohibited Procedures on Dogs.
Permits are required when there are more than a certain number of cats or dogs kept in a household. This number is set by your local council, so you need to check with them what the limit is.
Note: Where the owner of a dog is under the age of 18 years, the parent or guardian of that owner will be deemed the legal owner of the dog and subject to any penalties/prosecutions.
Microchipping and registration of your dog
Microchipping and registering pets greatly improves their chances of being returned to you if they become lost.
All dogs three months of age and over must be registered with the local council and existing registrations must be renewed by 10 April each year.
If being registered for the first time, dogs must be microchipped prior to registration.
Your dog's council registration tag should be attached to a collar, adjusted so you are able to fit two fingers comfortably between your dog's collar and its neck.
Find out more about pet registration and microchipping.
Confinement of dogs to the property
Legally, you are required to securely confine your dog to the property. This means your yard must have a closed gate and an escape proof fence that your dog cannot jump, get under or through. Visitors must also have safe access to your front door without being stopped by your dog. If your dog could get through your gates or fencing you can be fined even if he/she doesn't actually leave your property.
If securely confined your dog will be safe from traffic injuries or fights with other dogs. He/she will also be prevented from wandering and becoming lost.
You can read more about confinement of dogs and prevention of dog attacks in public places.
Health and welfare
Dog owners have a legal 'Duty of Care' to protect the welfare of their pets.
The Code of Practice for the Private Keeping of Dogs provides an overview of basic dog welfare and health requirements.