Responsible Dog Ownership
It is important when choosing a dog that you decide on a breed that is suitable to your lifestyle and home. If you are unsure as to what breed is suitable for you and your family speak with the Ranger for advice. As a dog owner, it is your responsibility to make sure your dog is healthy, safe, well cared for and does not create a nuisance in your neighbourhood. Ensure your dog has a collar with a tag showing your contact phone number. It is recommended to have your dog desexed to avoid any unwanted litters.
Dog owners have a responsibility to ensure their dogs are effectively contained, have adequate fencing and are under effective control when in a public place. Dogs must be on a lead at all times when in public unless in a designated off leash areas and they must only be walked by a person over the age of 16 years old. Council will take action against dog owners who disregard their responsibilities.
Being a responsible dog owner is easy. There are six things you can do to be a responsible pet owner:
- Make sure your dog can be identified with a collar, tag and microchip
- Make sure your dog is registered with Council so it can be identified if it becomes lost
- Keep your dog in your yard
- Consider desexing your pet
- Always keep your dog on a leash in public places unless in an off-leash area
- Clean up after your pet.
Barking dogs are part of life in any town or suburb. However barking dogs are one of the most common sources of neighborhood disputes. Barking is simply one way dogs communicate and can mean anything from playfulness to danger.
Some dogs bark because they are:
- Chained to a fixed point and don’t have enough room to move around
- Being provoked deliberately or unintentionally by people or other roaming animals
- Not getting enough exercise
- Not properly trained
- Lonely, sick, hungry, or generally neglected.
Chronic or excessive barking is a sign that something is wrong and can be a nuisance to others in the community. Sometimes stopping a dog from barking can be as simple as taking care of their basic needs.
Council is required by law to follow up complaints about barking dogs. Action can be taken in some cases which may include fines, but we prefer to manage these problems through education and communication. If you have a complaint regarding your neighbour’s dog barking the following steps are recommended:
- Approach the dog's owner and state your case clearly and politely. Chances are they are unaware their dog's barking is bothering you.
- If the dog's owner is unapproachable or does not agree that a problem exists, you can contact Council on (02) 6778 6300.
- Complaints regarding barking dogs must be that the dog(s) are consistently barking to the effect it is disturbing your peace and comfort in your home. You must provide us with the exact address of the problem dog. Council will notify the owner that it has received a complaint and requires the owner to take measures to alleviate the barking problem.
- Council will only further investigate a complaint when it receives two or more complaints from neighbouring residents.
How does Council deal with barking dog complaints?
Council takes the following steps after receiving a complaint about a barking dog:
- The owner is advised of the complaint and offered advice on how to curb the dog's barking
- If further complaints are received, a Noise Monitor Sheet will be sent to the complainants. Once the sheet is returned to Council and shows the dog's barking is still at an unacceptable level, a Nuisance Order may be placed on the dog which stays in place for six months.
- Should the dog continue to bark, Rangers may issue penalty notices or issue orders to the value of $275.
- Further non-compliance may see the owner of the dog prosecuted by the local court (a request for the removal of the dog from the property may be sought.)
What should I do if my dog is a constant barker?
Consult your vet in case there is a health issue causing the problem. Ensure that:
- Your dog gets plenty of exercise.
- Obedience training
- Socialise your dog with other dogs and people
- Train your dog to be obedient
- Our Ranger can advise on barking deterrents
- Confine your dog in the back yard, away from interference and/or provocation by passing traffic
- Restrict your pet's vision through the fence or gate
- Consider training. Talk to a specialist, reputable trainer or your local dog training club
- Insulate the kennel against noise and weather
- Keep your dog inside or confined to the garage or garden shed at night.
Owning Multiple Dogs
Uralla Shire Council has a local government policy in regards to how many dogs are allowed on a property subject of Orders pursuant to Section 124 of the Local Government Act 1993. Keeping several dogs on private property can have a negative impact on your neighbours. Council may act on complaints about noise or environmental health issues related to keeping multiple dogs on private property.
The number of dogs allowed on a property depends on the property size:
Up to 1000m2 - 2 Dogs
Up to 1500m2 - 3 Dogs
Up to 2000m2 - 4 Dogs
Benefits of Desexing your Dog
All pet owners are encouraged to desex their animals. The cost of registration is less for desexed animals and further discounts are available for desexed animals owned by a pensioner.
Early desexing eliminates risks of serious diseases including reproductive cancers, dogs grow up cleaner, healthier, quieter and are more home loving, less likely to be fat unless they are overfed and under exercised. Desexed pets are less aggressive than non-desexed and make much safer family pets, particularly for those families with young children. Thousands of unwanted puppies/litters of kittens are destroyed by animal welfare agencies each year because there are simply not enough homes for them.
Dangerous Dogs and Restricted Breeds
From January 2006, changes to the companion animals legislation means there are now increased control provisions for restricted and declared dangerous dogs and higher penalties for non-compliance. The following information outlines those responsibilities under the NSW Companion Animals Act 1998 (the Act) and the Companion Animals Regulation 1999 (the Regulations).
The registered owner of a dog in New South Wales must be over 18 years of age. Owners of restricted and dangerous dogs must notify the council in the area where the dog is ordinarily kept within 24 hours if:
- the dog has attacked or injured a person or animal
- the animal cannot be found
- the animal has died
- ownership or owner details of a dangerous dog change
- the dog is being kept at a different address in the area of the council
- the dog is being kept outside the council area.
A dog is dangerous if it has, without provocation, attacked or killed a person or animal, or repeatedly threatened to attack or repeatedly chased a person or animal (s33 of the Act). Dangerous dogs in NSW are dogs that are the subject of a declaration under the Act by a council or a court that the dog is considered dangerous. Council must have given notice to the owner of a dog of the council's intention to declare the dog to be dangerous.
It is an offence in New South Wales to sell, acquire or breed dogs on the restricted dog list, including:
- American pitbull terrier or pitbull terrier
- Japanese tosa
- Dogo Argentino (Argentinean fighting dog)
- Fila Brasiliero (Brazilian fighting dog)
- any dog declared by a council to be a restricted dog (ie. any dog where the council is of the opinion that a dog is of a breed or kind of dog on the restricted dog list or a cross-breed of any such breed or kind of dog).
- any other dog of a breed or kind, or description prescribed by the Regulations for the purposes of this section.
If a council issues a dog owner with a Notice of Intention to Declare a Dog to be a Restricted Dog under the Act, the owner may elect to have the dog's breed and temperament assessed. This process must be completed within 28 days.
The owner of a restricted or declared dangerous dog must ensure that all of the control requirements listed under section 51 of the Act are complied with.
Failure to comply
An owner can be issued with a penalty notice of $1,320 for failure to comply with any of the above control requirements and a court can impose a maximum $16,500 fine if a dangerous or restricted dog attacks or bites another person or if an incident is the result of the owner's failure to comply with any one of the requirements of sections 51 or 56 of the Act.
All dog attacks should be reported to council whether they occur in a public place or on private property.
What is classified as a dog attack?
A dog that rushes, chases, bites, harasses or attacks a person or animal (regardless of whether or not an injury is caused to the person or animal), is classified as a dog attack under the Companion Animals Act 1998.
Reporting a dog attack
If you are the victim of a dog attack or witness a dog attack, we strongly recommend you report the incident to Council as soon as possible. Council will investigation all reported attacks. If the attack occurs after hours contact the Uralla or Armidale Police.
Seizing a Dog from its Property
Council officers can seize a dog from its property if it has been involved in an attack within the preceding 72 hours and if Council believes that the dog is not able to be secured safely on its property. Council officers leave a notice of seizure on the property if this has occurred.
Council officers may seize a dangerous or restricted dog if an officer is satisfied dangerous and restricted dog control requirements have not been met.
A claim for release of a seized dog from Council's pound may be made only if Council is satisfied that the relevant control requirements are capable of being met.
More information can be found by following the link below to the Companion Animals Act 1998.