Pet Ownership Responsibility

Owners have responsibilities towards other members of the community as well as towards their pet. The Companion Animals Act sets our some of these responsibilities and gives Councils the power to assist and where necessary enforce the law to ensure that owners meet these responsibilities. Under the Act the owner of a Companion Animal must be a person 18 years or over. 

Owning a dog

As a dog owner, it is your responsibility to ensure:

  • The dog is microchipped and registered with council.
  • Dogs must have a collar and there must be a name tag attached to the collar. 
  • Dogs are safely contained in their yard. 
  • Dogs are always kept on a leash outside of their yard (unless in a designated off-leash area)
  • Your dog has adequate access to food, water, shelter and play toys.
  • Your dog doesn't persistently bark, which would unreasonably interfere with the peace, comfort, or convenience of another person.
  • You always carry a poop disposal bag when exercising your dog to pick up your dog droppings on public property.
  • Your dog doesn't chase or hurt another person or animal.
  • Your dog doesn't damage other people's property. 


Owning a cat

Cats can be wonderful companions, they need their owners to provide proper housing, food and to follow responsible breeding practices.

As of 1st July 2020, A permit is required to own a cat that is 4 months old or older, unless the cat is desexed.

If your cat roams beyond your property it can cause harm to or kill wildlife or cause other nuisance. All cats must be identified by a form of identification that enables a local authority to ascertain the name of the cat and the address or telephone number of the owner. This is best achieved by a microchip and a collar and tag. A cat must be microchipped by 12 weeks and registered with council by 6 months of age. 

Cats are prohibited in retail food preparation/consumption areas. Your cat must not repeatedly damage anything outside the property on which it is ordinarily kept. If a cat causes regular nuisance a nuisance order may be issued. 

We recommend keeping your cat indoors. Here’s why:

• All cats hunt, regardless of how well fed they are.
• Your cat is less likely to be involved in cat fights 
• Your cat is less to be harmed by motor vehicles 
• Cats can cause considerable harm to wildlife if allowed to wander.
• It will prevent around 90% of all cat-related complaints.

 Tips on keeping cats indoors.
  • Feed your cat inside, this will also prevent other animals stealing your cat's food. 
  • If your cat is well behaved, you can let them roam freely inside.
  • Alternatively put your cat in a room, or other cat specific enclosure where they have a bed and a litter tray (this could also be a garden shed or garage)

Your cat is a smart cookie. All cats want to do is play with toys and solve problems and use her natural instincts to hunt for food. Most hate to just sit around feeling bored all day. 

Here are some tips for keeping them occupied while you’re away:
  • Buy a good, tall scratching post that they can sit on top of. Cats love to sit high and observe what’s happening in the room below them, or out the window.
  • Regularly change up your cat’s toys so it doesn’t get bored. You could also consider an ‘automatic’ toy that will move electronically and engage your cat.
  • Hide treats around the house so they can ‘hunt’ inside.
  • Make sure they have access to nooks and crannies, or a little hutch or cave, to snuggle up in.

Barking Dogs

Dogs naturally bark to communicate. Excessive barking of a consistent nature can disturb neighbours and cause annoyance. Generally, there is an underlying reason for the excessive barking that can be resolved by talking with the dog owner.  

If you come upon a dog barking excessively, follow the steps below to resolve the issue. 

Talk to the dog owner.

On most occasions the dog is barking because the owner is not at home. Talk to the dog owner first as they may not be aware that their dog is barking or that their dog's barking is bothering you. Letting them know about the problem gives them the opportunity to fix it. If you feel uncomfortable with a face-to-face chat, try dropping a friendly letter in their letter box.

Report the issue.

If the dog barking hasn't improved, contact us and our rangers will investigate the issue. Council Rangers will ask you to complete a barking dog diary to record the times and dates of the barking behaviour. Before contacting council, you can complete the barking dog diary(PDF, 279KB) to streamline the process.

You may be asked to provide an official statement and be a witness in court should the dog owner dispute the claim.

You can report a barking dog by completing councils Report it form or by contacting Council's Customer Service.  

If you are finding, there has been no resolution with the neighbour please Contact a Community Justice Centre (CJC) or take private civil action.