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Responsible pet ownership

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What are your responsibilities as a pet owner?

The Companion Animals Act 1998 was designed to benefit pets, their owners and the wider community. The Act covers all dogs and cats in NSW and provides guidelines for pet owners to follow, to ensure their pets are happy, healthy and not a problem to the community.

Being an owner of a companion animal is a big responsibility. When you buy or are given a dog or cat, there are a lot of things you need to do to look after it properly:

  • Make sure your pet is happy, healthy, well nourished, groomed, vaccinated, microchipped, registered, properly exercised and socialised. Council also recommends you desex your pet if you are not planning on undertaking a controlled breeding program. A well cared for pet can provide great enjoyment and companionship.
  • As a companion animal owner, you have responsibilities towards other members of the community, these include:
    • preventing your animal from causing a nuisance through unnecessary barking, roaming the neighbourhood or causing damage to others' property,
    • ensuring your pet does not harm or threaten any other person or animal,
    • ensuring your dog is on a lead at all times when in public, except in a Council designated off-the-leash area,
    • ensuring your dog or cat does not enter public bathing areas, school grounds, children's playgrounds, shopping complexes, food preparation areas and similar public places where prohibitions are in force,
    • always picking up your dog's waste when in public,
    • keeping your dog in a secure, fenced yard, and
    • It is recommended that you keep your cat inside either permanently or at least at night to ensure it does not cause harm to our local wildlife or itself.
  • Your cat or dog must also wear a collar with a tag showing the name of your pet and your address or telephone number.
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