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Update on COVID-19- The safety of our communities, customers and staff is our top priority. We are continuing to monitor daily developments in response to COVID-19. Find out the latest.

Animals and pets

Owning a pet is a rewarding experience, but it's important to know your responsibilities. Find out how to register and microchip your pet, what your responsibilities are in caring for your animal and information about our refuge services.

Register your pet

The microchipping and lifetime registration scheme helps authorities in returning lost or injured animals to their owners. Once microchipped and registered, your pet is protected for life.

Cats and dogs in NSW must be permanently identified by microchipping by the time the animal is 12 weeks old under the Companion Animals Act.

Once the animal is microchipped, these identification details are entered into the NSW Companion Animal Register. A certificate is then issued to the owner with the identification details.

To register your pet you will need:

  • Lifetime Registration R2 form
  • a certificate of microchipping or letter from your vet
  • proof of de-sexing from your vet or a statutory declaration
  • documents which entitle you to a discount (for example pension card)
  • method of payment — EFTPOS, credit card, cheque, money order 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 or revokes a dog as being dangerous within 7 days
  • 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.

Fees for registration are:

  • $58 for a desexed cat or dog
  • $210 for an entire or non-desexed cat or dog
  • $58 for an entire or non-desexed cat or dog owned by registered breeder
  • $25 for a desexed cat or dog owned by an eligible pensioner.

The following penalties can also be issued:

  • Animal not permanently identified (microchipped) $180
  • Animal not Lifetime Registered $330
  • Failure to notify change of address/owner $180
  • Failure to prevent dog escaping $220
  • Dog not on lead in public place $330
  • Failure to remove dog faeces $275
  • Failure to take seized animal to owner/Council/approved premises $660
  • Dog in prohibited place $330
  • Own or in charge of attacking dog $1320

Animal refuge

Yes. Council's animal refuge is located on privately owned land 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 to 5pm, Monday to Friday
  • 9am to 12pm Saturdays
  • Closed Sundays and public holidays.

Contact the refuge on 02 4965 0100.

If your pet has been impounded:

  • 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. You are welcome to visit the refuge to check out the animals for sale.

Cost:

Fees include desexing, initial vaccination, microchipping and lifetime registration:

  • Dogs — $285
  • Cats — $185

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

Dangerous or noisy animals

Nearly all dogs will bark for various reasons and this alone does not make the noise unreasonable or offensive. The noise needs to be at such a level and frequency as to have a detrimental effect on your normal daily activities.

Excessive dog barking can be caused by many things. Some of the most practical and common ways to reduce dogs barking may include:

  • reducing the number of dogs kept on the premises according to your specific circumstances
  • restricting dogs visibility to the outside of the property, such as solid or opaque fences
  • increasing the dog's exercise regime
  • undertaking dog training
  • toys, bones and other devices to entertain dogs during waking hours
  • citronella or similar collars can help train the dog when you are not around to do the training
  • some dogs may have anxiety that can only be controlled with prescribed medication.

Often there is no single solution to controlling your dog's barking — it may take a combination of measures to get it to an acceptable level. In some cases, you may need to seek professional help from your local vet or a dog behaviour specialist.

The noise control page outlines what you need to do in order to make a complaint about a noisy animal.

Collars and signs

If you have a menacing or dangerous dog, we recommend using dog collars or signs for the safety of the community. You can purchase these from Council:

  • Medium collar $40 —  25mm wide for a dog weighing less than 20kg
  • Large collar $45 — 40mm for a dog weighing 20kg to 40kg
  • X-Large collar $55 — 50mm wide for a dog weighing more than 40kg
  • Warning Dangerous Dog Sign $35
Anti-barking collars

Anti-barking collars can also be hired or purchased from Council. See the next FAQ for details.

Yes. You can hire, sign the agreement, pay for and collect an anti-barking collar from our Administration Building for the following cost:

  • weekly hire fee $44.30
  • deposit (refundable on return of the collar) $152.90

Conditions of hire:

Read the full anti-barking dog collar hire agreement.

  • 1 week’s hire fee plus the deposit must be paid at onset
  • on return of the collar, any outstanding weekly hire fee must be paid
  • collar must be clean and in working order on return before deposit will be refunded
  • additional cans of citronella spray and batteries can be obtained from Council at no extra cost
  • contact Customer Relations immediately if the anti-bark collar fails to work.

How do the collars work?

Watch how the anti-barking collar works. Each time your dog barks, the electronic bark-sensing unit, releases a brisk, citronella spray in front of the dog's snout.  Your dog hears it, sees it and most importantly smells it. The smell will become bothersome and the dog will quickly learn that when it barks the anti-bark collar will spray.

It is 100% safe for all dogs, people and the environment.

Yes. A cat trap can be hired from Council to catch feral cats on your property. You can hire, sign the hire agreement and pay for and collect the trap from our Administration Building.

Watch how to set the cat trap.

Pet owner responsibilities

  • 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.
  • 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.