Your obligations

Your obligations

Our policies

The City of Sydney promotes the benefits of owning dogs, cats and pocket pets, and we aim to ensure that pets and people live together harmoniously.

Our companion animals policy balances the rights of animals and their owners with the needs of the wider community and environment, and encourages responsible animal ownership.

We aim to educate non-pet owners and children about animal behaviour and safety around other people’s pets. And we are committed to providing off-leash exercise areas for dogs and their owners, while also ensuring non-pet owners have access to parks and gardens.

The City enforces the NSW Government’s laws relating to pet ownership, which are outlined in the Companion Animals Act 1998. 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 put down in NSW, and to encourage people to take responsibility for their pets.

The Companion Animals Act 1998 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. 

Surrendering a pet

If you are no longer able to care for your pet please contact the RSPCA, the Cat Protection Society or the Animal Welfare League or your local animal shelter for advice.

We do not accept surrendered animals. It is illegal to dump or abandon your animal and animal cruelty charges apply.  


Owners can be fined if they fail to comply with the laws.

Under the law councils also have the power to impound a cat or dog that attacks a person or another animal. The act also includes very specific rules for owners of restricted breeds and dogs that are declared dangerous.

Last updated: Thursday, 11 July 2019