DOG MANAGEMENT POLICY
The Council is responsible for implementing the requirements of the Dog Control Act 2000 within its municipal area. The Council’s Dog Management Policy is current as of 1 October 2020. The Policy provides information on responsible dog ownership and clearly identifies areas within Central Coast for exercising dogs, including areas that are restricted or prohibited.
The Policy, available to download below, applies to any owner or person who has control of a dog/s, either residing in Central Coast or visiting the area, and supersedes any other document relating to dog management within Central Coast.Dog Management Policy
Declared Areas Overview
Dogs are great companion animals, but owning one means you have particular responsibilities, both to your pet and also to the general public. The Dog Control Act 2000 and the Dog Control Regulations 2001 provide for the control and management of dogs, as well as informing the community of what the Council expects from dog owners.
The Nuisance Dog Complaint Form that can, for example, be submitted for barking dogs is available to download below:Nuisance Dog / Barking Dog Complaint Form
Frequently Asked Questions
*Registration and Identification
According to the Dog Control Act 2000, every dog over the age of six months must be registered by its owner with their local Council. It is a legal requirement, and trying to avoid this by concealing or disposing of a dog is a punishable offence. (+ Find out how much a penalty unit is here)
In Central Coast, the annual registration fee is due by 1 July of each year.
The Dog Control Act 2000 requires all dogs over the age of six months to be registered with the local Council. (+ Find out how much a penalty unit is here)
If you are re-registering a dog, a form will have been posted to you.
To complete a New Dog Registration form, click on the red button below.Register Your New Dog Online
Any queries regarding fees can be directed to the Customer Service Officers on tel. (03) 6429 8900.
The following information is held in the Council’s dog register:
- dog’s name
- sex and reproductive capacity
- dog breed if identifiable
- any identifiable feature of the dog
- whether the dog is a dangerous dog
- owner’s name and address
- any other information about the dog the Council considers relevant.
If you are moving house permanently, or moving temporarily for more than 60 days with your dog, you will need to notify the Council. This needs to be done within 14 days of moving. If you are transferring to a different municipal area, both your old and new councils will need to be notified in writing.
The person who buys your dog will need to notify the Council of the change of ownership, in writing, within 14 days of the sale. As the previous owner, you must call into the Council and complete a Dog Registration form and sign as the previous registered owner that you no longer own the dog. This must occur within 14 days of the sale. (+ Find out how much a penalty unit is here)
Refunds are only provided in the following circumstances:
- Incorrect or duplicate payments
- Subject to requirements of the Central Coast Council’s Dog Management Policy.
*Rights and Responsibilities
If the unfortunate situation arises and your pet dies, you are obliged to notify the Council in writing within 14 days of the dog’s death. This also applies if your dog is lost, or permanently removed from your premises. Once notified, the Council will cancel your dog’s registration.
As the owner or person in charge of a dog, you have certain responsibilities and legal requirements. These include:
- registering a dog that is over the age of six months
- keeping your dog on a lead when you are walking on a road or footpath in a city or town
- ensuring that the dog does not roam and that it is under your effective control
- restricting your dog sufficiently while it is in or on a vehicle so that it is unable to leave the vehicle or attack any person or animal outside the vehicle
- preventing your dog from rushing at, or chasing a moving vehicle or bicycle whilst in a public place
- making sure that a bitch on heat is confined away from public places
- cleaning up after your dog.
Under the Dog Control Act 2000, the owner or person in charge of a dog, other than a guide dog or hearing dog, must ensure that the dog is wearing a collar whilst in public. The dog’s current registration tag should be attached to the collar. It is an offence for anyone, without a good reason, to unfasten the collar. ( + Find out how much a penalty unit is here)
This provision does not apply to dogs engaged in:
- obedience or agility trials
- training for any of the above activities.
The Dog Control Act 2000 has provisions for dogs which are, and which are not on a lead, whilst in a public place. If a dog is off a lead and in a public place, then the dog is still said to be under effective control if the following applies:
- the dog is in close proximity to the person
- the dog is in sight of the person
- the person handling the dog can demonstrate satisfactorily to an authorised person that the dog will immediately respond to their commands.
To be under effective control on a road or footpath in a city or town a dog must be on a lead. If the dog is on a lead, it is said to be under effective control only if the lead is less than two metres long, and if the person is of a sufficient age and strength to control the dog.
If a dog is tethered to a stationary object, it must be a lead which is less than two metres long, and for a period not exceeding 30 minutes.
The Dog Control Act 2000 provides for a Council to set aside areas for the exercising of dogs, subject to any specified conditions.
“Dog exercise areas” – The Council has declared a number of areas including beaches and securely fenced spaces to be available for exercising dogs. While leads are not required, all dogs must be under the effective control of their owners.
As well as earmarking areas for exercising dogs, the Dog Control Act 2000 enables Councils to declare areas where dogs are not allowed. These can include areas of sensitive habitat for native wildlife. This does not apply to guide dogs or hearing dogs, which are still allowed access.
The Council may declare an area to be one where dogs are restricted from entering:
- during specified hours, days or seasons
- during specified hours, days or seasons, unless they are on a lead.
There are other public places where dogs are prohibited. These include:
- any grounds of a school, pre-school, kindergarten, creche or other place where children assemble, without the permission of the person in charge of that place
- shopping centres and other shops
- the grounds of a public swimming pool
- any playing area of a sportsground on which sport is being played
- within 10 metres of a children’s playground.
This does not apply to:
- a guide dog that is accompanying a wholly or partially blind person, or is in training for that purpose
- a hearing dog that is accompanying a wholly or partially deaf person or is in training for that purpose
- a pet shop
- the premises of a veterinary surgeon
- a pet-grooming shop
- any other premises related to the care and management of dogs.
When exercising your dog in a public place, you are always required to clean up after them. Dog faeces are unpleasant and damage the environment. Cleaning up can be done simply and easily with the aid of a scooper or plastic bag and placing the faeces into the nearest rubbish bin.
This does not apply to a guide dog that is accompanying a wholly or partially blind person.
Failure to clean up after your dog can result in a fine. ( Find out how much a penalty unit is here).
Rain dissolves dog faeces and it is washed into our waterways. Marine plant and animal life is affected by this pollution. Australian beaches are closed for several days after rain because of this type of pollution. Dog faeces contain E-coli bacteria which can cause ongoing illness in people including vomiting, diarrhoea, and ear, nose and throat infections.
If an authorised Council employee has reason to believe that a dog owner has breached a provision of the Dog Control Act 2000, then he or she is legally able to:
- enter onto land owned or occupied by the dog owner, but not any dwelling on that land; and
search for and seize any dog on that land.
If the authorised person wishes to enter a dwelling on that land, he or she is able to do so by a warrant issued by a magistrate.
Under the Dog Control Act 2000, you are required to apply for a Kennel Licence if you intend to keep:
- more than two dogs over the age of six months; or
- more than four working dogs over the age of six months.
You can apply for a Kennel Licence by contacting the Council’s Administration Centre, paying the prescribed fee, and placing an advertisement advising of the intent to apply for a kennel licence in a recognised local daily newspaper.
After 28 days of the Notice of Intention to Apply for Kennel Licence has been advertised, the Council will conduct an inspection of the property and review any objections and complaints received. Should all areas have been addressed satisfactorily, a Kennel Licence will be issued.
If you have more dogs than noted above and do not have a current Kennel Licence, you can be liable to a fine. (+ Find out how much a penalty unit is here). In this case, you should apply to the Council for a Kennel Licence.
If you need a Kennel Licence, you should also check with the Council about local planning laws as some councils require you to submit a Development Application as well.
For details on how to obtain a licence in order to keep more dogs, contact the Council’s Administration Centre (03) 6429 8900.Kennel Licence Application Pack - Download
The following penalties are laid out in the Dog Control Act 2000.
The following penalties are laid out in the Dog Control Act 2000
Dogs may be declared dangerous if they have:
- caused serious injury to a person or other animal
- displayed behaviour that shows the animal is likely to cause serious injury.
If either of the above occurs, the General Manager is able to serve notice on the owner of the dog in question, and declare the dog to be dangerous.
When this happens, the owner of the dog has added responsibilities. Whilst their dog is out in public, they must ensure that:
- the dog is always muzzled
- the dog’s lead is no longer than two metres and strong enough to control and restrain the dog
- the person in charge of the dog is over 18 years of age.
When the dog is on private premises the owner must ensure that:
- the dog is enclosed in a child proof area
- the dog is secured by a lead no longer than two metres when not under the supervision of an adult.
In addition, the dog must be microchipped and always wear an approved collar.
The collar approved (by the Director of Local Government) is red and yellow striped, and is the same as that used in Victoria.
Once a dog has been microchipped, the chip cannot be removed without the consent of the General Manager. If it is removed without consent, you can be liable to a fine (see table of offences).
If you own a dog that has been declared dangerous, you must also ensure that there are approved warning signs on every entrance to your property. Your local Animal Control Officer will be able to tell you what form these signs and collars should take. (+ Find out how much a penalty unit is here)
A nuisance dog is generally one that:
- behaves in a dangerous way towards any person
- is often noisy or disturbs the comfort and convenience of neighbours, or anyone in a public place.
As a dog owner, you are responsible for ensuring that your pet is kept under control and does not become a nuisance. Neighbours can complain if your dog unreasonably disturbs the peace, and you risk being fined if you fail to prevent the disturbance.
If you are being annoyed by a neighbour’s dog, the best way to handle the situation is to discuss your concerns in a friendly way with your neighbour. If this fails to resolve the problem, the next step is to contact the Council’s Administration Centre. Lodging a formal complaint with the Council should be your last resort, and to do so you will need to complete an appropriate form, pay a fee, and explain the nature and severity of the disturbance.
Further information is available is available by clicking the green button: Nuisance Dog / Barking Dog Complaint Form
If you wish to keep a guard dog, you need to notify the General Manager in writing. The General Manager will then declare the dog to be a dangerous dog, and the provisions relating to dangerous dogs will then apply.
When the dog is no longer employed as a guard dog, you can again notify the General Manager in writing, and he/she may revoke the declaration of dangerous dog. (+ See table of offences here + Find out how much a penalty unit is here)
Under the Dog Control Act 2000, an authorised officer of the Council can apprehend and impound your dog if it is found at large outside your property.
If the dog is wearing a registration tag, the General Manager has to let you know in writing that your dog has been impounded, and tell you that the dog can be reclaimed. If, after five working days after the owner has received the notice, the dog has not been reclaimed, the General Manager may sell, destroy or otherwise dispose of the dog.
If the dog isn’t wearing a registration tag and the owner is unidentifiable, the General Manager has to make reasonable inquiries to identify the rightful owner. If unsuccessful in locating the owner, he/she is authorised after not less than three working days to sell, destroy or otherwise dispose of the dog.
Under the Dog Control Act 2000, if your dog has been seized and impounded, you will be given five working days after having received the notice to pay:
- any fees due in relation to the dog’s seizure and detention
- any other fees or charges that are applicable under the Act
- the appropriate registration fee if the dog isn’t already registered.
The Dog Control Act 2000 states that it is legal to restrain or destroy a dog under the following circumstances:
- if a dog is attacking you personally
- if you see a dog attacking another person, another animal, or a guide dog or hearing dog.
If the situation calls for you to restrain a dog that is at large, you need to notify the Council as soon as possible after the event.
If you are a primary producer and you have livestock that need to be protected, you have the legal right to destroy any dog that is found at large on your property. It is recommended that such a primary producer seeks independent legal advice in respect to their rights and responsibilities for the manner of destruction of the dog in these circumstances.
In extreme cases where a dog has been destroyed, the person who has carried out the deed must notify the Council within 14 working days and return the dog’s registration tag if any was worn.
An authorised Council officer or a veterinary surgeon may also seize or destroy a dog if:
- its behaviour is likely to cause injury to another person or animal
- it has already caused injury or death to another person or animal
- it is found in such a distressed or disabled state that it is considered kinder to prevent it further suffering.
If a dog has been seized and destroyed, the authorised Council employee or veterinary surgeon must also notify the Council of the animal’s death, and the reasons why it was destroyed.
There is also a provision in the Dog Control Act 2000 that requires anyone who destroys a dog to do so quickly and humanely, without causing the animal unnecessary suffering.
See question: “What happens if my dog leaves my property and is impounded?” for instances where the Council has a right to dispose of dogs.
Your neighbours are entitled to enjoy their garden and backyard without having your dog roaming around in it. It is every dog owner’s responsibility to ensure that his or her dog is under control at all times. Owners who do not control their dogs risk being fined up for each time their dog strays. (+ See table of offences here + Find out how much a penalty unit is here)
See question: “What happens if my dog leaves my property and is impounded?” for related information.
Yes, you may be fined. Under the Dog Control Act 2000 you must not allow your dog to be or become a nuisance to your neighbours, or to the general public. If sufficiently annoyed, people can complain and owners may be fined if they fail to prevent their dog from disturbing people with incessant barking. (+ Find out how much a penalty unit is here)
See question: “What is a nuisance dog?” for related information.