Dog Control Act and Amendments
Dog control is regulated by the Dog Control Act 1996 and the 2003, 2004 and 2006 Amendments. The Act is implemented by local councils with the support of their communities. Effective dog control and safety around people requires good law, effective enforcement, community support and responsible dog ownership.
The purpose of the Act is to make better provision for the control of dogs.
- must adopt dog control policies, maintain the dog registration system and enforce the Act
- must submit registration information to the National Dog Database which assists coordination of dog registration and control between councils
- have the power to seize, impound or destroy dogs in specified circumstances
- can use the penalties of putting owners on probation or disqualifying them from owning a dog
- can classify dogs as 'menacing' or 'dangerous' which imposes additional owner control obligations.
Dog owners must:
- register their dogs each year
- microchip their dog when it is first registered (unless it is exempt as a working farm dog)
- keep their dog under control at all times
- keep their dog fenced in on their own property or have it under full control at all times
- comply with council dog control bylaws
- take proper care of their dog – food, exercise, attention
- take all reasonable steps to ensure their dog does not injure, endanger, intimidate or otherwise distress anybody or any other animal
- muzzle their dog in public if it has been classified as menacing or dangerous.
Microchipping and the National Dog Database
The National Dog Database became operational in 1 July 2006. It holds details of all registered dogs including registration details and microchip number (if applicable) and the breed and age of dog. The name and address details of owners are also recorded.
Microchipping, combined with the National Dog Database, makes it much easier for councils to keep track of dogs and for owners to have dogs that become lost or stolen returned to them.