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.

Simple tips on responsible cat and dog ownership


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.