Dogs, Cats & the Law

Companion Animals Act

The Companion Animals Act 1998 and the Companion Animals Regulation 2018 provide for the identification and registration of dogs and cats, how they are managed and the duties and responsibilities of their owners in NSW.

Council administers and enforces this legislation, as well as updates registration information on the NSW Pet Register.

On the spot fines for non-compliance with the laws

Our Rangers can issue on the spot fines of up to $1,320 for offences committed under the Companion Animals Act.  Such offences include but are not limited to:

  • Not having the dog or cat microchipped by 12 weeks of age
  • Not having a permit for a non-desexed cat (as of 1 July 2020)
  • Selling or giving away a dog or cat that is not microchipped
  • Not updating the companion animal registry owner details
  • Not having the dog or cat registered by 6 months of age
  • Allowing the dog roam free and uncontrolled in a public place
  • Failing to prevent your dog from escaping your property
  • Not immediately cleaning up dog faeces from a public place

A dog which rushes at, chases, harasses, threatens bites or attacks a person or animal (whether or not injury occurs) is classed as a DOG ATTACK

If your dog is a declared restricted, menacing or dangerous dog the fines increase substantially up to $1,760 for the same offences. In addition, if your dog is declared you must abide by the legislated control measures.

If your declared dog is involved in an attack (rushes at, chases, harasses, threatens bites or attacks - whether or not injury occurs); there is no fine; instead:

  • It is considered a criminal action and requires prosecution in court
  • Penalties can include up to 5 years imprisonment, $77,000 in fines
  • A permanent disqualification from owning or being in charge of dogs anywhere in Australia

Contact our Customer Service Team if you have any questions about dogs, cats and the law, or to update your dog or cat's contact details on the Pet Register. Call 1300 275 782 (1300 ASK SVC)

Prohibited Areas

In general, animals are prohibited from entering certain public places. However, a person with a disability is entitled to be accompanied by an assistance animal in public places and on public transport while he or she is genuinely using the animal for assistance. 


All dogs, apart from police and corrective service dogs and genuine assistance dogs, are banned from:

  • Within 10 metres of a children's play area
  • Within 10 metres of food preparation or consumption areas, except cafes or restaurants whose owners permit dogs (non-restricted dogs or declared dangerous dogs) in their outdoor dining areas
  • Recreation areas where dogs are prohibited
  • Public bathing areas where dogs are prohibited
  • School grounds
  • Child care centres
  • Shopping centres where dogs are prohibited
  • Wildlife protection areas

Cats are banned from public areas where food is produced or consumed and from wildlife protection areas. There is considerable concern in the community about cats injuring or killing native wildlife.

Quick Link Resources

NSW Pet Registry

What to consider when getting a pet  

Responsible pet ownership – education programs  

Welfare-related responsibilities, as the owner of a cat or dog, covered under other legislation   

Greyhound muzzling - new laws in NSW