Your responsibilities as a Pet Owner

Man walking a dog on a leash

1. Dog Owners

Dog owners in NSW have a range of responsibilities under the Companion Animals Act 1998.

It is the law that all dogs are registered and microchipped.

Visit the Office of Local Government website to learn about being a responsible pet owner, including desexing, nuisance pets, what to do when your dog goes missing and how the NSW Pet Registry works. We have also developed a factsheet about responsible dog ownership which can be downloaded here(PDF, 1MB).

The Companion Animals Act prohibits dogs being walked on all Council sporting grounds, unless otherwise specified. Sporting grounds are provided for human use and dogs are prohibited to reduce the risk of incidents occurring with spectators and participants, both from a hygiene and attack point of view.

We have a number of off lead areas which have been made available for residents to exercise their dogs. A list of dog off lead areas can be found at

Council has an Animal Management Officer on call on weekends and after hours and will attend reports of dog attacks or roaming dogs that are acting aggressively. If you witness an attack, or come across a roaming dog acting aggressively, please call 1300 735 025.

2. Owning a restricted or dangerous dog breed

Owners of restricted and dangerous dogs in NSW have a range of responsibilities under the Companion Animals Act 1998. The Office of Local Government website provides detailed information on your responsibilities as the owner of a restricted or dangerous dog:

3. Dog Obedience

Keeping your dog active and practicing obedience may help curb any behavioural problems you may experience. Try a local Dog Obedience Training Club that provides experienced obedience Instructors to help train your dog in a group environment.

 For more personalised training try a trainer who understands issues such as barking and separation anxiety:

4. Nuisance Behaviour Including Barking Dogs

Barking dogs are the most common nuisance behaviour which our Rangers respond to. Other nuisance behaviours may include repeatedly straying animals, destructive cats, crowing roosters or smelly horses. With all nuisance behaviours it is recommended that you speak with the animal's owner to resolve the problem before involving Council.

Resolving a barking dog issue can be a lengthy process and requires the cooperation of the complainant and the dog's owner. Council cannot remove a dog from a premises. We will work with both parties to improve the situation utilising regulatory tools available under the Companion Animals Act where required to improve the outcome.

What you can do:

  • Identify the correct address of the offending dog.
  • Speak with the owner and give them time to improve the behavior.
  • If the noise persists, lodge a written complaint with us. This can be sent via email to or lodged online below. A letter will be sent out to the dog owner and/or resident at the address supplied, advising a complaint has been received and one month will be given to combat any excess barking emitted from the property in question before the reporter can pursue the matter further.
  • If the offending dog is still causing a problem after one month, lodge a second complaint with us. You will then be requested to keep a diary of the dog's barking habits and detail the effect it is having on you. This will assist us with the investigation and can be used in court as evidence if required.
  • Forward the completed diary to us. If the diary indicates that the barking is unreasonable our Rangers will then carry out a neighbourhood survey to determine if any other residents are affected by the dog to be confident of the validity and severity of the complaint.
  • If the investigation reveals that the problem is significant a Nuisance Dog Order will be served. Failure to comply with the order may result in significant fines being issued to the dog owner.

If there is a lack of evidence the complainant will be advised to seek their own mediation through the Community Justice Centre or seek a Noise Abatement Order from the local court.

5. Penalties and fines related to companion animals

If you own a dog you are responsible for their actions.

Below are some of the legislative requirements for owning a dog, in accordance with the Companion Animals Act 1998 and the Companion Animals Regulation 2008.

  • All dogs must be microchipped by 12 weeks of age or earlier if sold or given away
  • All dogs must be lifetime registered by 6 months of age
  • All dogs must wear a collar and identification tag when outside their property
  • A dog that is in a public place must be under the effective control of a competent person at all times, by using an adequate chain, cord or leash that is attached to the dog and that is being held by (or secured to) the person
  • Dogs must not, without provocation, attack or menace a person or animal
  • The owner or person in charge of a dog that defecates in a public place must immediately remove the dog's faeces and properly dispose of them.

Failure to comply can result in fines and penalties being imposed on the owner of the dog.

Below are some examples of common offences under the Companion Animals Act 1998 and the Companion Animals Regulation 2008, along with their associated penalties as at 1 July 2021.

Offence On-the-spot penalty Local Court penalty
Animal not registered $305 minimum $880 - $5,500
Dog without a collar and name tag $180 minimum $880 - $5,500
Dog not on lead $330 minimum $1,100 - $11,000
Fail to remove dog faeces $275 minimum $880 maximum
Dog in a prohibited place $330 minimum $1,100 - $11,000
Animal not permanently identified (microchipped) $180 minimum $880 - $5,500
Dog attack $1320 minimum $5,500 - $33,000

View the legislation online
at the NSW government legislation website.

6. Report a Dog Attack

Dog attacks are very distressing experiences and can result in some hefty fines ($1,320) and may lead to a dog being declared dangerous or euthanised. The NSW Companion Animals Act defines a dog attack as an incident where a dog rushes at, attacks, bites, harasses or chases any person or animal (other than vermin), whether or not any injury is caused to the person or animal.

 There are a number of ways to avoid dog attacks (see 1 Dog Owners), however if you are involved in a dog attack, please do the following: 

  1. If the offending dog is contained or still causing issues, call our Animal Management Facility on 6285 6269 (business hours) or our Animal Management Officers on 1300 735 025 (afterhours).
  2. Complete the form below and submit it to our Animal Management Officers.
  3. If there were any witnesses, provide their details in the form below.
  4. An investigation will be undertaken and may result in fines being issues and the offending dog being declared a nuisance, menacing or dangerous dog.
  5. If you wish to seek a civil claim, please contact a lawyer.

7. Cat Owners

Cat owners in NSW have a range of responsibilities under the Companion Animals Act 1998. The Department of Local Government website provides information on the responsibilities of cat owners, penalty notices issued under the Act and what to do if your cat is missing.

Owners should consider desexing their cats as this decreases unplanned and unnecessary breeding and will help to reduce roaming cats in the area.

Cat Containment

As a responsible cat owner you should consider confinement of your cat/s to your property, particularly from dusk till dawn. This approach is strongly encouraged, for the cat’s safety, for the safety of wildlife and to prevent cats being a nuisance in the community.

Googong Township (at this stage applies to Neighbourhood 2 stage 11-16, Neighbourhood 3, 4, and 5), Googong Sunset, Jumping Creek, Elm Grove (North Elmslea), Braidwood Ridge, South Jerrabomberra (Tralee) and all future new greenfield developments are cat containment areas. The policy will apply to the other Googong Township Neighbourhoods by 26 May 2026, including Neighbourhood 1 and 2 (stages 1-10).

Cat containment means that cats will need to be kept within the boundary of the property at which they live, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Any structure that is used to keep the cat contained on the property should be humane and not cause the animal any distress or harm.

Find our more by reading the Cat Containment brochure(PDF, 2MB).

Sub Wild Cats

A growing stray cat population creates public health risk and nuisance, especially if they are not vaccinated and desexed. Feeding and harbouring stray and feral cats contributes to over population and does not necessarily benefit the cat's wellbeing. Traps can be hired from the Queanbeyan-Palerang Animal Management Services for seven working days. Once a cat has been caught, cover with a sheet or towel and bring the cat to the Queanbeyan-Palerang Animal Management Facility.

8. Selling or Giving Away Cats or Dogs

When selling or giving away cats, kittens, dogs and puppies people in NSW advertising them will need to include an ID number in all advertisements. The ID number can be either a microchip number, a breeder identification number, or a rehoming organisation number. 

The rules will apply to all advertisements including those in newspapers, posters, community notice boards and all forms of online advertising such as the Trading Post, Gumtree and social media sites.

This is designed to help people looking to buy a cat or dog search the NSW Pet Registry to see the animal’s breed, sex, age, whether it’s desexed, whether or not it’s registered and whether any annual permit is in place. 

9. Keeping Bees and Poultry

Keeping Bees

Any person who wishes to keep bees must be registered with The Department of Primary Industries.

We have developed a factsheet on keeping backyard bees which you can download here(PDF, 2MB) .

Keeping Poultry

The keeping of poultry in residential areas is permitted as a hobby. We have developed a factsheet which outlines the requirements and can be downloaded here.(PDF, 1MB)