In NSW, around 80,000 dogs and cats are lost, hurt or stolen each year. Many are not able to be identified and returned to their owners. To prevent this from occurring, the Companion Animals Act 1998 requires that all cats and dogs be microchipped and registered for life. This easy two-step process will help return your pet to you if it is hurt, lost or stolen.
The NSW Companion Animals Act states that your pet must be microchipped by the person, group or shop who is selling it to you. If you bred the pet yourself it must be microchipped by 12 weeks of age. This permanent form of identification is the size of a grain of rice and is placed by injection under the skin of your dog or cat's neck, between the shoulderblades. The chip is inert and does not interfere with the animal.
Each chip contains a unique number that links the animal to the owner's contact details. This information is placed onto the NSW Pet Registry, a statewide register that can be accessed by all councils, pounds and veterinarians within NSW. If you travel interstate with your pet, it is worthwhile to also register their microchip with a privately run, Australia-wide registry.
If you obtain an animal that has not been microchipped, it becomes your responsibility to microchip your pet. The penalty for selling or giving away an animal without a microchip, or for owning a pet without a microchip, exceeds $165.
Before your pet reaches six months old, you must lifetime register them. This is a one-off payment. It is an offence to own an unregistered dog over six months old (penalty exceeds $275).
To lifetime register your cat or dog, please visit the NSW Pet Registry website, create a profile, and 'claim' your pet. Once claimed, you can follow the prompts to Lifetime Register. You can also use the Pet Registry to update your contact information if you move or change phone numbers.
To create a NSW Pet Registry profile, you must validate your identity using either a driver’s license, a Medicare card or an Australian passport. Your name must exactly match the owner information listed on your pet's Registry listing. Should these not match, you won’t be able to claim your pet.
For example, if your name is Matthew, but your animal's Pet Registry owner listing is under the name Matt, Council will need to update the record to Matthew for the profiles to match.
If you having difficulty registering your pet online via the NSW Pet Registry website, please contact council directly on 9391 7000 for assistance. Alternatively, you can complete Council's Lifetime Registration Form (PDF) and bring it to Council with identification to make your payment.
As well as the above, your dog is also required to wear a collar with a tag showing their name and your address or telephone number whenever in public.
Remember, the microchip details are only valuable if they are current! If your contact information changes (such as address, phone numbers or email address), or if your animal is sold or given away you must update the pet's microchip information within fourteen days of the change. You must also notify Council within 28 days if your pet dies. The penalty for not completing these actions within the prescribed timeframes is $165.
To update your pet's identification information, or mark your pet as deceased, please visit the NSW Pet Registry website. If you are unable to update your pet's information online via the NSW Pet Registry website, please contact council directly on 9391 7000 for assistance.