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Guide to Councils

Animal management

Councils perform a range of functions relating to the management and responsible keeping of domestic pets in their municipality.

These are outlined in their Domestic Animal Management Plan.

These functions can include:

Each council's performance for Animal Management can be viewed and compared in the Compare Councils section of this site. To do this, click on the service area icon, select your council from the filter, then use the checkbox to select three additional similar councils for comparison from the list.

Domestic animal management

A key function of councils is the registration of dogs and cats. This encourages responsible pet ownership and assists in tracing the owners of stray animals. A portion of all registration fees charged goes toward funding responsible pet ownership programs, supporting the council pound and other animal management services, as well as the DEDJTR education and research programs that promote and support animal welfare.

Councils often offer education programs and incentives to further encourage responsible animal ownership; e.g. school and hospital programs, discount vaccination and desexing vouchers when puppies and kittens are first registered, and microchipping days (where a tiny identifying chip is inserted under the animal’s skin).

Through their local laws councils regulate other matters such as:

  • the keeping of domestic animals (including dogs and cats) on private property (e.g. limiting the number of animals that can be kept, implementing curfews for cats of others)
  • the control of domestic animals in public places (e.g. dogs to be on a leash, restrictions on when dogs can be on beaches, parks or reserves)
  • nuisances and dangers posed by domestic animals (e.g. barking dogs, dangerous dogs, cleaning up after your dog, impounding of wandering animals).

The Domestic Animals Act 1994 gives councils the responsibility for registering and controlling dogs and cats, and domestic animal businesses in their municipality.

The purpose of this Act is to promote animal welfare, responsible ownership of dogs and cats and protection of the environment by providing:

  • a scheme to protect the community and the environment from feral and nuisance dogs and cats
  • a registration and identification scheme for dogs and cats which recognises and promotes responsible ownership
  • the identification and control of dangerous, menacing and guard dogs
  • a registration scheme for domestic animal businesses which promotes the maintenance of standards of those businesses.
  • Councils are also responsible for:
  • matters related to the boarding of dogs and cats
  • regulating the permanent identification of dogs, cats and horses
  • providing information on how the government levy from animal registration fees must be used.

Contact your local council for more details about these services in your local government area.

Wandering livestock

In regional areas the confining of livestock, including horses, to your property is important for the safety of the community. Wandering livestock can create a serious public safety risk, particularly when they are on roads. Human lives have been lost due to vehicle collisions with livestock on roads. Wandering livestock may also injure themselves, other animals they encounter, and cause damage to property.

Under the Impounding of Livestock Act 1994, authorised council officers have the power to deal with wandering or inadequately confined livestock.

The Act enables a notice of objection to the trespassing of livestock and a notice to confine livestock to be served on either a landowner or livestock owner, in relation to trespassing or inadequately confined livestock. When a livestock owner fails to comply with a notice to confine, the livestock can be impounded by an authorised council officer.

The Impounding of Livestock Act makes it an offence for a person to allow livestock to wander at large, or to fail to adequately confine livestock to a property.

An authorised council officer, who finds inadequately confined livestock, has the power to enter any land or building (other than a residence) and impound the livestock in certain circumstances, such as where there is a public safety risk.

Contact your local council about issues concerning wandering or inadequately confined livestock.

Animal welfare

The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 (POCTA) allows for the authorisation of local government officers, who are employees of council and authorised under Section 72 of the Domestic Animals Act 1994.

Where council officers are authorised under POCTA they have the powers to investigate cruelty, seize and dispose of animals, destroy suffering animals, deal with abandoned or distressed animals and prosecute cruelty offences.

There are a number of other organisations that can investigate animal cruelty, including state government, the RSPCA and the police. Councils do not have powers to investigate concerns over animals used in research and teaching; such concerns must be reported to the DEDJTR.

For assistance with issues concerning animal welfare contact your local council or the RSPCA.