Dogs are affectionate and loyal creatures and make great family pets. They also need and deserve a lot of care and attention and if neglected can become a nuisance.
Dog Owner Responsibilities
As a dog owner, you have a number of legal and moral responsibilities to ensure the safety and well-being of your pet and others.
All dog owners should ensure that their dogs:
- are registered and micro chipped
- receive proper care, attention, nutrition and shelter
- are adequately exercised - check out where your local dog exercise areas are
- are kept under control at all times - this means ensuring the dog obeys your commands and is either on a leash or under voice control in areas where it is allowed to run free
- do not cause a nuisance to neighbouring residents (this includes the dog owner's responsibility to clean up after his/her dog if it fouls in public)
- do not injure or distress any livestock, people or property
To be on the safe side: it is always best to avoid letting your dog run free in areas where small children, livestock, poultry or protected wildlife are present. There are a number of dog exercise areas where you can exercise your dog off a leash.
If you own a dog that is classified as dangerous or menacing you have more responsibilities to ensure people's safety. An explanation of dangerous and menacing dogs, and the associated responsibilities for the dog's owner(s), can be found in Council's Dog Control Policy.
How to Microchip your Dog
Dogs registered for the first time after 1 July 2006 are required by law to be micro-chipped (livestock working farm dogs are exempt). It is a good idea to microchip your dog anyway to ensure it is easily identified and quickly returned to you if lost. Your veterinarian can microchip your dog for a small fee.
If any unregistered dog is impounded it must then be micro-chipped. Any registered dogs impounded more than once are also required to be micro-chipped.
If you have lost your dog it may have been picked up by or been handed to the Council's dog control officers.
Dog control officers may impound any unregistered dog or any dog found wandering outside its owner's property if it is considered to not be under control and/or likely to cause annoyance, distress or damage to any person or property. If you think your dog may have been impounded you should contact the Council office to arrange for the dog's release. Prior to release from a pound, by law any unregistered dog must be registered and/or micro-chipped as appropriate and all pound fees paid.
Impounding fees may be set at different rates for registered versus unregistered dogs and may be graduated according to the number of impounding offences against the same dog.