Looking After Your Pet
Pets play an important and positive role in the lives of not only their owners, but the wider community. An important part of being an owner of a companion animal is to ensure your pets are kept safe and do not create a nuisance. All dogs and cats must be microchipped and lifetime registered by the time the animal is six months old.
Information about microchipping and registration is listed here.
You must also ensure your animal’s details are kept up to date, particularly if the animal changes ownership, or you change your address or contact details.
Identifying your dog
While your dog must be microchipped, it must also wear a collar and tag when outside its own property. The tag must show the name of the dog, as well as your address and telephone number. If your dog is sighted in a public place without a collar and tag, you may be liable for a maximum penalty of $880.
Did you know? Council has free metal dog tags available that you can have engraved with your pets’ details! They are available at Council’s Administration Building, located at 62-78 Vincent Street, Cessnock.
Preventing your dog from escape
You or the person in charge of your dog must take precautions to prevent the dog from escaping its property. This means ensuring you have adequate fencing, gates remain locked or shut and there are no holes or gaps where they can escape. If you fail to comply with this requirement, you may be liable for a maximum penalty of $880.
Cleaning up after your dog
Nobody likes dealing with dog mess in public. If your dog
defecates in a public place, you must immediately remove the dog’s faeces and
properly dispose of them.
Many pet shops and stores sell products and bags for the
convenient and easy removal of dog mess.
Failure by the owner of a dog or the person in charge of
the dog at the time to remove the dog’s faeces may result in a maximum
penalty of $880.
Keeping your dog under control in a public place
When out in public with your dog, it must be under the effective control of a competent person over the age of 16 by the means of an adequate chain, cord or lead. All dogs must be walked on a lead, with the exception of when they are in Council’s off-leash exercise areas. Dogs are prohibited from certain areas while out in public.
These areas include:
- 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 (not 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.
The owner of a dog that this not under effective control (or the person in charge of the dog if the owner is not present) may be liable for a maximum penalty of $1,100. These same penalties apply for dogs found in the prohibited areas listed above.
Identifying your cat
All cats must have some sort of identification while they are in a public place. Your cat should be microchipped and wear a collar with a tag with your address and contact details.
This will allow your cat to be easily returned to you if he or she goes missing or becomes lost. Owners of cats without any identification may be liable for a maximum penalty of $880.
Cats in public places
Cats are prohibited from entering food preparation or consumption areas, or wildlife protection areas. The Companion Animals Act 1998 does not require cats to be contained on their property – cats are entitled to roam. However, it is recommended that cat owners consider keeping their cats indoors or imposing a ‘cat curfew’ (i.e. preventing your cats roaming at night). This will prevent your cat causing a nuisance to your neighbours, fighting with other cats and posing a risk to native wildlife.