Your Responsibilities

Being a dog owner is enjoyable and rewarding however brings with it responsibilities.

As a pet owner, it is your responsibility to ensure your dog is happy and healthy and is not negatively impacting the community in any way.

Registration

Dog registration is compulsory in the ACT and dogs must always wear their registration tag or a dog tag that displays their registration number.

All dogs must be registered if:

  • they are over eight weeks old
  • they have been kept in the ACT for 28 days or more
  • the dog's keeper has been a resident of the ACT for 28 days or more.

Registration is for the lifetime of the dog and a registration form is available online.

To register in person, visit Access Canberra Shopfronts or Domestic Animal Services, Symonston. A concession on registration is available to card holders, however payment must be made at a Access Canberra Shopfront or Domestic Animal Services.

Desexing

It is a strict liability offence under the Domestic Animals Act 2000 to own a dog which has not been desexed. Exemptions include:

  • the dog is less than six months old
  • the dog was born before 21 June 2001
  • the keeper of the dog holds a sexually entire permit issued by the Registrar of Domestic Animal Services.

Application forms to keep a dog which has not been desexed are available from Domestic Animal Services. Fees and conditions apply prior to the granting of the licence.

Desexing is essential to reduce the number of neglected or abandoned dogs. It may also improve behaviour and helps to reduce reproductive health problems later in life. Female dogs do not need to produce a litter for full physical and emotional development.

Microchipping

All dogs in the ACT must be microchipped.

Microchipping is not an alternative to registration and both are compulsory.

Microchipping is a safe procedure where a silicon chip, approximately the size of a grain of rice, is implanted under the skin of the animal. The procedure takes less than a minute and, once inserted, the chip cannot be lost. A dog or cat of any age can be microchipped.

Few animals show any signs of discomfort during this simple and quick procedure.

Dogs can be microchipped by Domestic Animal Services, the RSPCA or any veterinarian.

Microchipping is an effective way for animal shelters and vets to identify lost dogs and cats for quick return to their owners.

If you've ever lost your pet you'll understand the stress and upset it can cause to the whole family. Having your dog or cat microchipped is a simple and easy way to reduce the anguish and it could save your pet's life.

If you move house, you should update both your pet's registration and microchipping records to reflect the details are updated. To update your contact details please email DAS at dogcontrol@act.gov.au or call Access Canberra on 13 22 81.

Keeping four or more dogs

To have four or more dogs in the ACT you must have a keeper's licence issued by Domestic Animal Services.

Under section 18 of the Domestic Animals Act 2000 it is an offence for a person to keep four or more dogs unless in accordance with a multiple dog licence.

Application procedure

Persons wishing to keep four or more dogs must make an application under section 19 of the Domestic Animals Act 2000 for a multiple dog licence. An application form can be obtained from Domestic Animal Services.

Prior to lodging your application each individual dog must be registered, micro-chipped and de-sexed (unless the keeper holds a sexually entire permit). You are also required to provide a map and photos of your premises, outlining any existing facilities and any proposed construction. A Ranger from Domestic Animal Services must also conduct a site inspection of your property and consult with surrounding residents.

The Registrar may take numerous things into consideration before granting a licence. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • the number and kind of dogs to which the application relates
  • the size and nature of the premises where the dogs are proposed to be kept
  • the security of the premises
  • the suitability of facilities for keeping the dogs on the premises
  • the potential impact on the neighbouring premises
  • any conviction or finding of guilt of the applicant within the last 10 years against a Territory or State law for an offence relating to the welfare, keeping or control of an animal.

Minimum requirements to hold a multiple dog licence include:

  • written approval from your landlord if you are a tenant
  • no objections from your neighbours
  • pens or runs must be constructed in such a way that:  
    • they are escape proof
    • no part of the structure is closer than two metres from a boundary fence
    • they are large enough to allow freedom of movement
    • they have adequate shelter from theelements
    • the floor of the structure facilitates hygienic disposal of animal waste and ease of cleaning.
  • adequate conditions for sanitary disposal of collected waste
  • dogs must be penned when the house is unattended (they may use the rest of the yard for exercise when you are home).

Payment of fees

A fee is payable if the licence is granted. A yearly renewal applies and must be paid at Domestic Animal Services.

If you have any questions in relation to these guidelines, please call Access Canberra on 13 22 81 or visit Domestic Animal Services on Mugga Lane, Symonston during opening hours.

Greyhounds

Greyhounds must be muzzled in public places unless the greyhound and its carrier have completed a course in behaviour or socialisation training approved by the Registrar of Domestic Animal Services. A course has been approved in the ACT and details of the next course can be obtained by contacting Domestic Animal Services on 6207 2424.

When walking greyhounds in a public place they must be on leash and the walker must not be in control of four or more greyhounds.

Dogs out in public

The community expects to be able to enjoy public places without fear or threat of being attacked by dogs or walking on dog excrements. Residents are also entitled to enjoy their garden without dogs roaming onto their property or being disturbed by excessive noise from barking.

Dogs in the ACT must be on leash in public places except in designated off leash areas and enclosed dog parks. Visit where can I take my dog, for more information about off leash areas, dog parks and prohibited areas.

When taking a dog into a public place remember the following:

  • remove all dog droppings
  • carry appropriate equipment to pick up dog droppings
  • keep the dog on leash except in designated off leash areas
  • do not leave a dog unattended
  • do not take a dog into prohibited areas or places
  • do not take a female dog on heat into a public place.

Infringement notices can be issued for the above offences.

Dangerous dogs

There are no restricted breeds in the ACT as each dog is assessed on its individual behaviour and history.
A dangerous dog is a dog that:

  • the Registrar of Domestic Animal Services has declared to be dangerous usually because of attack behaviour;
  • has been declared dangerous in another State or Territory; or
  • has been trained as a guard dog or is kept as a guard dog for guarding premises other than residential premises.

If a dog has been declared dangerous, the owner must apply for a Dangerous Dog Licence from Domestic Animal Services. A license will only be granted if the Registrar is satisfied that the dog can be kept in accordance with strict conditions designed to ensure public safety. This licence must be renewed annually by the owner.

Dog attacks

Dog attacks should be immediately reported to Access Canberra on 13 22 81.

Animal nuisance

The Domestic Animals Act 2000 states that an animal nuisance exists if the keeping or behaviour of an animal causes a condition, state or activity that constitutes:

  • damage to property owned by a person other than the keeper
  • excessive disturbance to a person other than the keeper because of noise
  • danger to the health of an animal or a person other than the keeper.

Find out more about addressing animal nuisance on the Animal Nuisance web page.

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