Companion animal frequently asked questions

How many animals can you have on residential premises?

There is no specific limit on the number of animals that can be kept on residential premises provided. Each case is taken on its individual merit. Council considers such things as:

  • Have there been any complaints from neighbours.
  • Is the number and size of animals considered to be reasonable for the area in which they are kept.
  • Are they well looked after.
  • Are the animals microchipped and registered.
  • Do the animals receive adequate veterinary treatment when needed.
  • Is there any offensive noise and/or odour or complaints regarding the condition of the property.

Are cats required by law to be kept indoors at night?

The Companion Animals Act 1998 does not specify that cats are to be kept indoors at night. However, to protect your cat and the local wildlife it is recommended that cats be kept indoors at night or in a specific cat enclosure.

Where can I find information on desexing programs or adopting a pet?

There are a number of dogs allowed to roam loose in my street. What can I do about it?

If you know where the dogs are usually kept you could try speaking to the owners of the dogs.

Council has a fact sheet which outlines the responsibilities of owners which you may like to drop in your neighbour’s letterbox.

Call Council during business hours (Monday to Friday, 8.30am-5pm) on 9424 0000. You will need to provide your name and contact details as the complainant, along with details of where the dog lives so that Council’s Officer can follow up your complaint.

I have found a stray dog. What should I do?

Call Council during business hours (Monday to Friday, 8.30am-5pm and Saturday and Sunday 8am – 4pm) on 9424 0000. We will organise for one of our rangers to collect the dog. They will scan for identification and, if possible, notify the owners.  You will need to leave your contact details and the location of the dog.

It is against the law for you to keep the dog without advising Council.  If the dog and owner cannot be identified or the owner cannot be contacted or the dog cannot be resecured on its property, it will be delivered to Council’s Pound.

Outside our business hours, you may contact a local veterinarian to check if they will accept the dog.

A dog attacked me (or my dog, cat, etc.) in a public place. What should I do?

You should contact Council as soon as possible with details of when and where the attack took place.

One of our Officers will then follow up the complaint with the owner of the dog. You will be requested to complete a Statutory Declaration regarding the nature of the attack and be able to positively identify the dog involved. Please note, Council cannot seek compensation for you in respect of any damages and/or injury, you will need to take your own action.

My neighbour’s cat is always killing native wildlife. What can I do about it?

First, try speaking to your neighbour, voicing your concerns about their cat’s behaviour, and maybe suggesting that they keep their cat indoors at night.

If the cat is coming on to your property and killing wildlife or causing damage, you may like to use some of the garden deterrents that are available through hardware and garden stores.

Under the NSW Companion Animals Act 1998 a cat is allowed to ‘roam’ and leave its own property. However under Section 32 of the Act, actions can be taken to protect persons and animals against a nuisance cats. ‘A cat can be lawfully seized if that is reasonable and necessary to protect any person or animal from injury or death.’

To seize the cat you may hire a trap to catch the cat and then either return the cat to the owner (if known), or deliver it to a pound. We cannot provide traps but they can be hired from local hire companies.

If you have a complaint regarding a nuisance cat of a known address contact council during business hours (Monday to Friday, 8.30am – 5pm) on 9424 0000.

What are the rules about registering my cat or dog?

Cats and dogs are required by law to be registered in NSW Companion Animals Register if they are over 12 weeks of age. The owner of the animal is guilty of an offence if it’s not registered which can result in a fine.

My neighbour’s dog is barking non-stop. What can I do?

  • Talk to the dog’s owner. They may not have realised that their dog is bothering you.
  • Contact a Community Justice Centre. They specialise in settling differences between neighbours. They will suggest mediation and the process will not cost you any money.
  • Contact your local council. The dog can be declared a nuisance if it barks or makes other noise that keeps occurring or continues to an unreasonable degree. If you complain about a noisy dog you might be asked to keep a diary of when the noise occurs to substantiate the complaint.

I have received complaints about my dog barking. What can I do?

Dogs can bark for many different reasons; loneliness, boredom, protecting territory, night disturbances such as possums or bats etc. Understanding the cause of the barking will make it easier to solve the problem. The following suggestions could help:

  • Make sure your dog gets enough exercise and mental stimulation (the need differs from breed to breed).
  • Give your dog something to do when it’s on its own, e.g. a chew, a dog puzzle, interactive toys e.g. tug toy on sturdy elastic band, scatter meal in the yard instead of feeding in a bowl.
  • Arrange for someone to walk your dog if you need to be away for extended periods of time.
  • If your dog suffers from separation anxiety it might be helped by wearing a bandana sprayed with DAP (can be purchased from most Vet clinics).
  • If your dog barks at passing cars, bicycles, pedestrians etc. remove it from that area and block the vision e.g. shade cloth or solid fence barrier.
  • If the dog barks at possums or bats at night – keep it inside.
  • Contact a dog trainer for further advice.

How many dogs can 1 person walk or bring to the dog park?

The Companion Animals Act states that no person can control more than 4 dogs at the one time. That also applies to professional dog walkers. Walking more than 4 dogs can result in fines (one fine for each dog in excess of four).

Can our children walk our dog?

The Companion Animals Act states that a dog can only be walked by a person of 16 years of age or older – or if younger, accompanied by an adult.

Where can’t I take my dog?

Your dog is not allowed to enter prohibited areas such as children’s play areas, food preparation and consumption areas, school grounds, childcare centers and wildlife protection areas.