Below are some important things you need to do as a responsible dog owner.
Make sure your dog is properly registered, and that you keep their details up to date.
See our Pet Registration page for more information.
Your dog has to wear a collar and tag any time it’s outside your property. You can be fined if your dog doesn’t have a collar and tag.
If your dog is lost, having your phone number on the tag can help them get back to you more quickly. This could also avoid your dog ending up at the pound, and save you having to pay to get them back.
Desexing your dog is recommended to help reduce some behaviour problems and stop unwanted litters. It’s also cheaper to register your dog if they’re desexed.
Talk to your vet if you need more information.
Animal Welfare League Illawarra offers subsidised desexing of cats and dogs whose owners are on a Centrelink benefit or have a low income Health Care Card. For more information, email or call 0498 200 709.
That means pick up the poo! You have to clean up any mess or damage caused by your dog.
You must do everything you can to stop your dog from escaping your property.
If your dog goes missing, check with neighbours, nearby vets, or call the RSPCA Shelter on (02) 4271 3410.
You need to tell Council if your dog is missing for more than 72 hours. Call us on (02) 4227 7111 and we can mark them as missing on the pet register, so you can be contacted if they’re found. This can also stop someone else from claiming ownership of your dog.
You can take your dog to many public places.
In places marked as off leash areas, your dog can run free. Everywhere else, it needs to be on a lead and under the control of a responsible adult.
There are some places where dogs are not allowed:
- Within 10 metres of a children’s play area
- Within 10 metres of an area where food is prepared or eaten, except at cafes or restaurants that allow dogs in outdoor dining areas
- School grounds
- Child care centres
- Rock platforms, ocean or rock pools and many beaches. See our Dog Beaches and Parks page for details.
- Wildlife protection areas
- Any public place that has a sign saying dogs are prohibited. This can include shopping centres, sportsgrounds, pools, parks and more.
Some types of dogs are restricted by law. It is illegal to buy or accept a restricted dog.
Dogs that are restricted include:
- Pitbull terrier
- American pitbull terrier
- Japanese tosa
- Argentinean fighting dog
- Brazilian fighting dog.
Dogs that are a cross-breed of the types listed above are also restricted.
If you own a restricted dog, you will have to follow extra rules, as well as the rules that apply to all dogs.
From 1 July 2020, you will have to get an annual permit for restricted dogs.
You also have to get a Certificate from Council to approve the enclosure where the dog will be kept. Call us on (02) 4227 7111 for advice.
You can read all the rules for restricted dogs on the Office of Local Government website.
Dogs can be declared as menacing or dangerous if they’re unreasonably aggressive, or if they attack or threaten people or other animals.
Owners of dogs that are identified as menacing or dangerous have to follow extra rules to protect others from their dog.
From 1 July 2020, you will also have to get an annual permit for dangerous dogs.
You can read more about dangerous or menacing dogs on the Office of Local Government’s website.
If you have a dog or cat which you can no longer keep, you may be able to surrender it to Council at no cost.
- There is no after-hours service for surrendering animals.
- Requests will only be met if we have the capacity to accept the animal. At times we may either be unable to accept an animal, or there may be a delay before we can accept it.
- You are encouraged to try any other available methods to re-home the animal (for example, offering it to friends or on social media) before you ask to surrender it to Council.
To ask us about options for surrendering an animal, please call (02) 4227 7111 during business hours, or use the button below to make an online enquiry.
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