Owning a pet
The Companion Animals Act 1998 is designed to benefit pets, their owners and the wider community. It was amended in 2013.
Amongst other things, the Companion Animals Act requires cats and dogs to be identified by microchip by the age of 12 weeks and be lifetime registered by the age of six months.
The permanent identification and lifetime registration system, which came into effect on 1 July 1999, greatly assists Councils and authorities tor return lost and injured animals to their owners.
If your pet is lost, the pound or vet can use your pet's microchip and registration details to contact you and quickly reunite you with your pet.
It also provides NSW Councils with a more effective means of keeping track of cats and dogs for the benefit of the wider community.
Registering your Companion Animal - a two step process
Step 1 - Microchipping your animal
Under the Companion Animals Act, cats and dogs, which reside in NSW, must be identified by microchip by 12 weeks of age. Microchipping your animal is the first step in the registration process.
When an animal is microchipped its identification details are entered onto the NSW Companion Animals Register. A certificate is issued to the owner receipting the entry of their animal's details.
Microchips are about the same size as a large grain of rice. They are very safe. Your pet will feel little pain as the chip is inserted quickly and safely under the skin between the shoulders.
When the chip is scanned, a number displayed on the scanner will be used to identify your cat or dog.
How is Microchipping Performed?
A microchip is simply and easily injected beneath the skin by a veterinarian, just like a vaccination. The process is completed in seconds, does not require an anaesthetic and the chip stays with your pet for its lifetime.
Microchipping can be arranged through Council, your local vet or an authorised implanter.
What are the Benefits?
- Unlike a collar or tag, a microchip cannot be lost.
- It is inexpensive to microchip your pet - for a minimal once off cost your pet is protected for life
- Microchips help in the recovery of your pet from anywhere in Australia, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Step 2 - Registering your animal
Once you have microchipped your animal, you then need to lifetime register it by six months of age. Infringements may be issued to owners of animals whose animal is older than six months of age and is not registered.
Alternatively, you can create an online profile with the NSW Pet Registry and fill the form in online.
The register allows cat and dog owners to:
- Create an owner profile.
- Update their contact details.
- Transfer ownership of pets.
- Report their pet as missing.
- Pay most lifetime registration fees online.
You will need to have evidence that your pet is microchipped and desexed (if it is) when you register your pet. It is cheaper to register a pet if it is desexed.
Please note, you must register your animal within 28 days of these due dates, or a late fee will be payable with your registration fee. See important notice below. Registration is cheaper if your pet is desexed.
How much does it cost?
The fees for lifetime registration change each financial year, but the current registration fee for a cat or dog anywhere in NSW is:
- For a desexed animal - $58
- For a desexed animal owned by an eligible pensioner - $25
- For an animal that is not desexed (except an animal kept by a recognised breeder for breeding purposes) - $210
- For an animal that is not desexed and that is kept by a recognised breeder for breeding purposes - $58.
Exemptions from registering your pet
The following allowable registration exemptions are provided for in Section 16 of the Companion Animals Regulation:
- an animal that is ordinarily kept outside New South Wales, but not if the animal has been in New South Wales for a continuous period of at least 3 months,
- an animal in the custody of a council (including in a council pound), the Animal Welfare League NSW, The Cat Protection Society of NSW Inc. or RSPCA,
- an animal in the custody of an organisation approved by the Director-General, for the purposes of this clause, by order published in the Gazette,
- an animal kept at a pet shop for the purposes of sale,
- an animal kept for the purposes of sale in the course of a business conducted at a booth or stall in a market or at a fair,
- a greyhound registered in accordance with the rules made in relation to greyhound racing under the Greyhound Racing Act 2009,
- a dog that is ordinarily used by a police officer on official duty,
- a dog that is ordinarily used on official duty by a correctional officer (within the meaning of the Crimes (Administration of Sentences) Act 1999),
- a dog used by a Commonwealth officer on official duty,
- an animal in the custody of an accredited research establishment within the meaning of the Animal Research Act 1985, or the holder of an animal research authority or an animal supplier's licence within the meaning of that Act, for purposes in connection with animal research, as authorised under that Act,
- an animal kept at a licensed animal display establishment within the meaning of the Exhibited Animals Protection Act 1986 and lawfully exhibited in accordance with that Act,
- a working dog that is ordinarily kept in a part of the Western Division of the State that is not within a local government area,\
- a working dog that is ordinarily kept on land categorised as farmland for the purposes of Part 3 of Chapter 15 of the Local Government Act 1993.
Animals covered under these exemptions are not required to be identified or registered.
Discounts are available for those who have:
- a desexing certificate (if your pet has been desexed) will make your registration cheaper
- pensioner concession card
- a receipt showing that your desexed animal was adopted from an eligible pound/shelter after the 29 October 2015 – the receipt must show the adopted animal's microchip number
- proof of assistance animal status
- proof of breeder status.
Adoptions from a pound/shelter in NSW are eligible for discounted registration if the animal was adopted after 29 October 2015 from:
- Animal Welfare League NSW
- Cat Protection Society
- Council pound.
- You must be over 18 years old to register a pet. A parent or guardian can register cats and dogs on behalf of children and teenagers under 18.
- If your address or ownership changes, you need to change your pet registration.
- If you are moving to NSW with your pet, you need to change your pet registration.
- When dogs or cats are in a public place they must wear an identification disc on their collar that is engraved with their name and their owner's contact number.
- We recommend all cats that are allowed to roam should wear a collar and tag. All cats must, by law, be microchipped.
- Any animal which is seized and taken into the custody of a Council pound or animal shelter must be microchipped and lifetime registered before being returned to its original owner. This requirement overrides any exemptions.
- Breeders are issued with a breeder identification number to record owner and animal information to help track litters over time.
Responsible pet ownership
It is the responsibility of pet owners to to ensure their animal:
- has identification tags;
- is suitably housed i.e. adequate fencing; and
- is effectively controlled when in public i.e. restrained by suitable handler.
Dog owners are reminded of their obligations to pick up after their dogs, and to ensure that dogs are on a leash outside their property, except in “off leash” areas
Hefty fines apply under the Companion Animals Act, 1998 and the Companion Animals Regulation, 2008, as detailed below:
- Fail to remove dog faeces: $275
- Dog not on a lead/dog not under effective control: $220
- Own or in charge of attacking dog: $550 (Dogs not restricted or classed dangerous)
- Dog in prohibited place: $330
- A dog off leash, attacking other animals and people, can result in serious offense charges dealt with in Court.
Council's off leash areas
There are designated off leash area available in each of the three communities within Murrumbidgee Council.
The second oval at the Recreation Reserve, King Street
At the end of Kookaburra Avenue - forest area
Around the Jerilderie Lake from Bundoora Avenue to the Playground area - as signposted
Complaints against animal mistreatment
Council does not have the authority to oversee the treatment of companion animals. If you feel an animal is not being adequately looked after or cruelly treated, then it is important that you contact the RSPCA, Animal Welfare League or if in emergency the NSW Police.