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Companion Animals Act, 1998

The Act is designed to benefit pets, their owners and the wider community to assist authorities in returning lost and injured animals to their owners.

The Companion Animals Act, came into effect in September 1998. The Act is designed to benefit pets, their owners and the wider community to assist authorities in returning lost and injured animals to their owners. It provides NSW councils with a more effective means of keeping track of dogs and cats for the benefit of the wider community. The Act also outlines the requirements when a person is the owner of a ‘controlled dog’ or dangerous breed as well as giving the courts and local councils the ability under legislation to declare a dog ‘dangerous’. The Act also covers nuisance dogs and situations where a dog attack has occurred and the civil liability of dog owners. The Companion Animals Act, 1998 requires:

Dog Owners

  • Pups must be microchipped by 12 weeks of age or earlier if sold or given away.
  • All dogs over six months of age must be microchipped and lifetime registered.
  • In addition to being microchipped and lifetime registered when away from your property, your dog must wear a collar and ID tag.
  • When away from your property your dog is to be under effective control. This means it must be on a lead unless you are in a specified off-leash area.

Please note that all dogs that are impounded must be microchipped and lifetime registered before being released.

Cat owners

  • Kittens must be microchipped by 12 weeks of age or earlier if sold or given away
  • All cats over 6 months of age must be microchipped and lifetime registered
  • If you owned your cat before 1 July, 1999, you do not have to register your cat. However, it must have either a collar and ID tag or be microchipped.

Please also note that cats must be microchipped and lifetime registered if sold, given away or release, even if you owned the cat before 1 July 1999.

Change of Ownership/Details

This includes changes of ownership, changes in your address, a change of phone numbers, or a change of secondary contact details.

There is no charge or fee for changing details, if details are not correct, in the event your animal is impounded you will not be readily able to be contacted to reclaim your animal. Impounding fees apply to impounded animals.

Section 11 of the companion Animals Act 1998 requires owners to inform the Register (go to any Council within NSW) of any change in their animals registration or permanent identification (microchip) information within 14 days.

In the case of change of ownership (by sale or give away), this section applies to the seller, or "old" owner of the animal to notify council.

It is recommended that a "change of Ownership" form be signed at the point of sale or transfer, enabling both parties to sign it.

The following excerpts are taken directly from the Companion Animal Act 1998

(1) A companion animal must be identified as required by the regulations from the time the animal is 12 weeks old.

(2) A companion animal must not be sold unless it has been identified as required by the regulations (even if it is less than 12 weeks old when it is sold).

9 Registration required from age 6 months

(1) A companion animal must be registered under this Act from the time the animal is 6 months old. The owner of the animal is guilty of an offence if it is not registered.

11 Owner required to notify certain changes and events

(1) The owner of an identified companion animal (whether or not it is registered) must notify the Director-General when any of the following happens:

(a) any change occurs in the registration information or identification information for the animal (notification must be given within 14 days after the change occurs),

12A Preventing dog from escaping

(1) The owner of a dog must take all reasonable precautions to prevent the dog from escaping from the property on which it is being kept.

64 Unclaimed seized or surrendered animal may be sold or destroyed

(1) If a seized animal (including an animal delivered to a council pound under section 63A) or a surrendered animal (other than an animal surrendered by its owner) has not been claimed, the council may sell or destroy the animal:

(a) if notice under section 63 (1) or (1A) has been given—after the period of 14 days following the giving of the notice, or

(b) if such a notice is not required to be given—after the animal has been held at the council pound for a period of 7 days.

(4) An unregistered animal that is required to be registered cannot be claimed until an application for registration of the animal has been properly made (and any registration fee that is payable has been paid). The regulations may create exceptions to this subsection.

65 Fees and charges payable when animal detained or held

(1) A council can determine the following fees and charges for the purposes of this Part:

(a) release fees, being fees to be paid for the release of an animal detained or held under this Part, and

(b) maintenance charges, being charges to be paid for the maintenance of an animal while it is detained or held by the council under this Part.

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