Pet registration benefits
Every dog and cat three months of age and over must be registered with your local council. Existing registrations must be renewed by 10 April each year.
Your registration fee gives you more than just a lost and found service for your pet.
Note: Where the owner of a dog or cat is under the age of 18 years, the parent or guardian of that owner will be deemed the legal owner of the dog or cat and subject to any penalties/prosecutions.
Why pet registration is important
Pet registration is a legal requirement under the Domestic Animals Act 1994. You can be fined for not complying. However, there are many additional reasons to register your pet.
We are often asked about the benefits of council registration, when microchipping will help a lost pet find its way home. While microchipping provides a reunification service, there are many things that microchipping cannot provide that registration does. This section outlines some of the key community facilities and services that your dog and cat's registration fee pays for.
Your pet registration fees may go toward providing the following facilities:
- dog parks, including off leash parks and fenced dog parks
- dog poo bins
- pounds and shelter facilities.
- Individualised registration tags for each of your registered dogs and cats.
- Animal management staff to support the collection and return of stray animals to owners.
Events, inventive schemes and information
Events, incentive schemes and information may include:
- free information booklets and fact sheets
- pet expos
- community discounted microchip and desexing days
- discount incentive schemes for new registrations
- on-line Responsible Dog Ownership e-learning course.
Animal management staff
Staff are needed to:
- attend to nuisance complaints such as barking complaints, cat and dog trespassing complaints, wandering and stray animals
- attend to and investigate dog attack/bite/rushing incidents
- patrol parks, beaches and streets
- pick up stray cats and dogs
- manage and run pound and shelter facilities.
Training courses and programs are provided for animal management staff to ensure they have the most up-to-date information and skills in animal management
Animal management tools are provided to ensure animal management officers are able to perform their role in the most efficient and comprehensive manner.
Domestic Animal Business compliance
Your registration fee ensures that local government have sufficient staff to audit Domestic Animal Businesses, such as:
- pets shops
- breeding facilities
- boarding kennels
- training establishments
- shelters and pounds.
Auditing for compliance with the relevant mandatory codes of practice under the Domestic Animals Act 1994 provides both consumer protection and animal welfare assurances for the community.
Dangerous and restricted breed dog management
Your registration fees cover the costs of staff to enforce the control of dangerous, menacing and restricted breed dogs to ensure that owners are compliant with the legislation and ensure these dogs do not pose a threat to the community.
In addition, the registration fee covers the cost of the Victorian Declared Dog Register — a database that tracks and records all:
- declared dangerous dogs
- menacing dogs
- guard dogs
- restricted breed dogs.
Dog bite and dog attack education programs
Registration fees for dogs and cats in the community contribute to the following dog bite prevention programs:
- 'We are Family' is a community education program provided free of charge to expectant and new parents preparing or introducing a new family member to a home with pets. The program provides learning tools for education sessions within antenatal and maternal and child health programs and information booklets and guides. The 'We are Family' Program offers components of the 'Living safely with dogs' program to families with infants, toddlers and preschoolers.
- 'Responsible Pet Ownership and Living Safely with Dogs' programs provide free pet education visits to more than 2600 primary and preschools in Victoria each year. The program includes a visit from a trained pet educator and their dog, free curriculum activities, on-line games for children, parent training sessions and information booklets. The program teaches safety around dogs and responsible pet ownership.
- Free community dog bite prevention education resources.
Emergency animal welfare
Evacuation and relief centres
Your local council needs to know the number of dogs and cats within its municipality to ensure adequate evacuation and relief centres with enough resources are provided for everyone who may need to seek refuge with their animals.
Local councils also provide registration numbers of dogs and cats to supporting agencies and not-for-profit animal welfare agencies such as the RSPCA and Animal Aid. This is so they can provide aid items like:
- kitty litter
- animal care staff
- veterinary support.
Identifying locations where animals may have been left behind
Local council can also use registration information to identify homes where animals may have been left stranded in an evacuation. If you do not register your animals, in the event of an emergency — no one will know they are there.
Registration could be the difference between your animal being evacuated and cared for or not.
Exotic disease and biosecurity
The State Government uses pet registration information for responding to exotic disease threats that affect cats and dogs. In the event of a disease outbreak, without proper knowledge of the location of cats and dogs, the State Government does not know who to contact to prevent the spread or effectively plan the eradication of the disease.
The State Government uses pet registration fees as a source of funding for research into dog and cat welfare. These research programs provide the government and the general public with valid and reliable information to maximise the welfare of our pets.