Cats and Dogs


Everyone who owns a pet must be aware of their responsibilities, not only to their pet, but also to the wider community. Find out how to deal with barking dogs and nuisance cats, discover off-leash dog exercise areas and much more.

All cats and dogs must be micropchipped and registered with Council.


Council encourages residents to keep cats indoors, especially at night.  This not only helps to protect our native wildlife but also to prevent cats being run over by cars, mauled by dogs, poisoned and lost as a result of roaming freely outdoors. Cats should also wear collars with a bell attached and a tag displaying their name and owners address and/or phone number.

Nuisance Cats

A domestic cat cannot be trapped or caught in a public or privately owned space and taken to an Animal Care Facility unless it is necessary to prevent injury or death of another domestic animal, person or if the cat is in a designated wildlife protection area.

For assistance with wildlife injured by a cat, contact WIRES Rescue on 1300 094 737.

Complaints regarding nuisance cats can be made by contacting our Customer Service Centre on 1300 463 954.


Your dog must wear a collar around its neck with an identification tag, stating the name of the dog and the address and/or phone number of the owner. Dogs must also be kept on a leash or secured in your yard at all times. An unrestrained and unsupervised dog can be a danger to other people and animals. Penalties can apply to the dog owner or the person in charge for a dog that attacks, bites, harasses, chases or rushes at a person or animal. Dogs are only allowed off leash in specified Off-Leash Dog Exercise Areas.

If your dog defecates in a public place or on someone else’s property, you must remove the faeces immediately and dispose of it properly. If you fail to pick up after your dog, you or the person in charge of the dog at the time may be liable for a penalty.

Barking dogs

For information about how to deal with excessive dog barking in your neighbourhood, see the Barking Dogs section on our Neighbourhood concerns page.

Dog attack

If you or your dog has been attacked please report it to Council as a matter of urgency on 1300 463 954.

Roaming dogs

If the owner of a roaming dog cannot be contacted, it is taken to one of our Animal Care Facilities. If you know where a roaming dog lives and you are able to secure it, contact the owner as soon as possible. Otherwise, bring it to the nearest Animal Care Facility or contact our Customer Service Centre on 1300 463 954.

If your dog is missing, contact our Animal Care Facilities at Charmhaven on 4350 3184 or Erina on 4304 4350.

Safety around dogs

Approaching dogs

All dogs have different traits and personalities and will react in any number of ways to being approached. Even the friendliest dog can react badly if startled or frightened. 

Being aware of simple body language and following some basic rules can help keep you, your family and your own animals comfortable and safe.

  • Always get permission from the dog owner before approaching or patting a dog- if the owner is not present its best not to attempt patting the animal.
  • Never approach a dog from behind, always make sure the dog knows you're there.
  • Move naturally, dont run towards dogs and try not to appear to be creeping towards them
  • Be aware of the dogs posture, a scared or uncomfortable animal will pull away, raise their hackles (hair on the back), stiffly wag their tail or move it between their legs. Other signs such as licking their lips or heavy panting can indicate an animal is not comfortable.
  • If you have permission and the animal is willing, stroke the dog gently on the sides of the chest, under the chin or sides of the face. Avoid the top of the head and shoulders as these can be seen as dominating actions.
  • Always keep your face away from animals to avoid any possible injuries.

If approached by an unknown dog

If you are approached by a strange dog, always be aware of your body language and keep these basic tips in mind

  • Avoid direct eye contact
  • Don't run or make any sudden movements; stand still or move slowly towards safety
  • Don't kick the dog or scream
  • Keep your hands by your sides, try not to wave them around
  • If concerned move slowly to a safe location or put barriers between you and the animal. Call Council on 1300 463 954 and lodge a roaming dog report.
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Last updated : Thu 24 Jan 2019