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Pets and the City

Pets and the City

Penalties and policies

The NSW Government makes the laws relating to pet ownership and the City of Sydney enforces them. We also have policies in place to ensure pets and people live harmoniously.

NSW laws

In NSW, the rights and responsibilities of people who own pets are outlined in the Companion Animals Act. The aim of the act is to balance the rights of animals and their owners with the rights and needs of the wider community and environment. Under the act, cats and dogs must be microchipped and registered so they can always be returned home if hurt, lost or stolen. This law is designed to reduce the number of animals euthanised in NSW, and to encourage people to take responsibility for their animal.

The act also sets out an owner’s responsibility for controlling their pet in the local neighbourhood and public places. For example, dogs must be controlled on a leash when in public (except in designated off-leash areas) and wear an identification disc with their name and contact number of their owner on their collar.


Owners can be fined if they fail to comply with the laws. Below is a list of infringements and the current cost of the fine.

  • Animal not microchipped – $165
  • Animal not registered – $165
  • Dog without collar and tags – $165
  • Dog not on lead in a public place – $220
  • Dog in prohibited place – $330
  • Failure to remove dog droppings – $275
  • Dog harasses, chases or attacks a person or animal – $550
  • Cat in prohibited places – $110
  • Cat not wearing identification – $110
  • Failure to notify change of address or change of owner – $165
  • Failure to take seized animal to pound/shelter – $550.

Fines between $275 and $880 apply if a cat or dog is the subject of complaints and the owner fails to follow up on a solution. The Act also gives councils the power to impound a cat or dog that attacks a person or another animal, and includes very specific rules for owners of restricted dog breeds and dogs that are declared dangerous. Breaches of these rules can result in fines of up to $1,760.

Our policy

We encourage responsible animal ownership and promote the benefits of owning dogs, cats and 'pocket pets' (guinea pigs, rats, mice and rabbits). The City also aims to educate non-pet owners and children about animal behaviour and safety around other people’s pets.

Other parts of our policy covers the City's commitment to providing owners with off-leash exercise areas for their dogs while also ensuring non-pet owners have access to parks and gardens.

Download our Companion Animals Policy if you would like to know more, or visit the NSW Legislation site if you would like to read the Companion Animals Act in detail.

Sustainable choices

We value environmentally sustainable city living and encourage residents to make informed choices when it comes to pets. There are many ways to reduce your household carbon footprint and choosing sustainable pet care products and services can make a real difference.

Taking responsibility for your free-roaming cat and keeping your dog under control outside the household is also important because domestic animals can have a negative impact on the City's biodiversity, including our native birds and wildlife.

Visit our Green Villages website for more information on sustainable living and tips on how you can help the City's biodiversity thrive.

Surrendering a pet

The City does not accept surrendered animals. If you are no longer able to care for your pet please contact the RSPCA, Cat Protection Society, Animal Welfare League or your local animal shelter for advice. Do not dump or abandon your animal. It is illegal to dump or abandon your animal and animal cruelty charges apply.


Animal Welfare LeagueCat Protection SocietyCompanion AnimalsGreen VillagesNSW LegislationRSPCA

Last updated: Friday, 7 December 2012