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Animal FAQs

Dog ownership

  • If your dog is in a public place it must be under the effective control of a competent person by means of an adequate chain or leash. The exceptions to this are: dogs exhibited at a show or engaging in obedience or agility trials or a dog secured in a cage or in an approved off-leash area;
  • If your dog is being exercised in an approved off-leash area it must always be under effective control of a competent person;
  • You are not permitted to walk more than 4 dogs at any one time in an on-leash or an off-leash area;
  • Greyhounds must be muzzled at all times when in a public place, except if the greyhound has successfully completed an approved greyhound retraining program and the greyhound wears an approved collar when it is a public place;
  • If your dog defecates in a public place it is an offence not to remove the faeces; and
  • Dogs are prohibited in children's play areas, food preparation/consumption areas, recreation areas, public bathing areas, school grounds, child care centres, shopping areas and wildlife protection areas.

Animal registration

Your dog or cat must be registered on the NSW Pet Registry by the time they're 6 months old.

Prior to registration, they need to be microchipped. The microchip contains a unique 15-digit number which helps in identification if the animal is lost or stolen. Your vet/authorised implanter will provide this number to the NSW Pet Registry.

To register your pet you will need:

1. The Lifetime Registration R2 form (available online here)

2. A certificate of microchipping or letter from your vet

3. Proof of de-sexing from your vet or a statutory declaration

4. Any documents which entitle you to a discount (for example pension card)

5. Payment can be made at Council either by cheque, money order, EFTPOS, VISA or cash

You must notify Council if any of the following circumstances occur:

  • Change of ownership/change of address or any other details within 14 days;
  • Death of animal within 28 days in writing;
  • Missing animal within 96 hours;
  • If a court declares/revokes a dog as being dangerous within 7 days; and
  • If you sell or give away your animal a change of owner/details form must be completed and sent to Council.

This change of owner details form (C3A) can be found on the Division of Local Government website. Do not give the certificate to the new owner, as you are responsible for the details to be changed. Penalties apply where changes to ownership are not notified.

Council animal refuge

Yes, Council has an animal refuge located on privately owned land located at 157 Cabbage Tree Road, Williamtown.

When animals, including dogs, cats and stock are seized by Council and cannot be immediately reunited with their owners, they are taken to the refuge and looked after until an owner can be identified and contacted. Staff will endeavour to contact owners of identified and registered animals as soon as possible.

The refuge is open to the public from:

  • 9am-5pm Monday- Friday
  • 9am-12pm Saturday
  • Closed Sundays and public holidays.

If your pet has been impounded, here are some important information to be aware of:

  • Your pet cannot be released from the refuge unless it has been microchipped and registered
  • You will need to demonstrate you are the animal's owner and pay the appropriate fees prior to the animal's release
  • Companion animals, by law, are only kept at the refuge for a limited time (7 days for unregistered animals, 14 days for registered animals)

To find about more on the impounding fees, visit our Fees and Charges page

Yes. If you are unable to care for your dog or cat, you can surrender it to the refuge upon the payment of a fee. Contact the refuge first to discuss.

Yes. Many unclaimed dogs and cats are assessed by refuge staff as being appropriate for sale to the public. You are welcome to visit the refuge to check out the animals for sale.


  • Dogs - $285 - includes desexing, initial vaccination, microchipping & lifetime registration
  • Cats - $185 - includes desexing, initial vaccination, microchipping & lifetime registration

Pets currently available for sale can be found on the Port Stephens Animal Rescue Facebook page.

Dangerous or noisy dogs


Port Stephens Council’s Environmental Health and Compliance Section
Ph: (02) 4988 0255
Email: council@portstephens.nsw.gov.au