Companion animals

Introduction of annual permits for non-desexed cats and dangerous/restricted dogs


The NSW Government is committed to promoting responsible pet ownership and improving animal welfare standards.
From 1 July 2020 the Government will introduce annual permits for owners of non-desexed cats, restricted dog breeds, and dogs declared to be dangerous.
This means that owners of cats not desexed by four months of age will be required to pay an $80 annual permit in addition to their one-off lifetime pet registration fee.
Owners of dogs of a restricted breed or declared to be dangerous will be required to pay a $195 annual permit in addition to their one-off lifetime pet registration fee. This applies to dogs that are already registered.
Pet owners will be able to pay for annual permits using the online NSW Pet Registry, or through their local council. Annual permits are not available from Service NSW.
Anyone registering a cat on the NSW Pet Registry will be informed that they must pay for an $80 annual permit if their animal is not desexed by four months of age.
Exemptions will be in place for cats that are registered by 1 July 2020, cats kept for breeding purposes by members of recognised breeding bodies, and cats which cannot be desexed for medical reasons.

Why are annual permits being introduced?

Annual permits will create a stronger incentive to desex cats, which in turn will improve their health and wellbeing, and reduce behaviours such as roaming and aggression.
Improving desexing rates and preventing unwanted litters will also ease the burden on pounds and shelters, reduce euthanasia rates, and help to address concerns about feral and stray cats and their effect on wildlife.
Placing further control measures on dangerous and restricted dogs will serve as a further disincentive to owning high-risk dogs and encourage owners to better manage the behaviour of their animal.
Annual permits were to be implemented from 1 July 2019, however, the Government announced a 12-month grace period to give affected pet owners more time to prepare for their introduction.
Annual permit fees will go directly to the Companion Animals Fund which pays for companion animal management by local councils including pounds/shelters, ranger services, dog recreation areas, and education and awareness programs.

The fund is also used to operate the NSW Pet Registry and carry out responsible pet ownership initiatives.

Animal Welfare Logo


From 1 July 2019, any advertisements will need to include either:

A microchip number or
A breeder identification number or
A re-homing organisation number
It doesn’t matter:

  • How old the animal is
  • Where you want to advertise
  • Whether you are a hobby or professional breeder; or your cat or dog has an accidental or one-off litter
  • Whether or not you bred the animal
  • Whether or not the animal you are selling or re-homing has been born yet.

To find out more about the changes, visit

Companian Animals Microchipping and Registration

Microchipping and Registration is a two step process that requires cat and dog owners to:

  • Have their animals implanted with a microchip by the time they are 12 weeks of age, at point of sale, or change of ownership (whichever occurs first)
  • Animals can be microchpped at your local vet or by Council’s Ranger
  • Register their animals with the NSW local Council by six months of age.

Fines are applicable for offences relating to companion animals. Therefore, to avoid fines being issued, Council encourages the registration of all cats and dogs.

The lifetime registration fees are set by the legislation, not councils, for enquiries regarding current lifetime registration fees or microchipping fees please phone Council’s Regulatory Officer (Ranger) on 0418 684 710 (follow the prompts after hours) or by contacting Council on (02) 6828 1399.

NOTE– If you are claiming a reduced registration fee, you must provide the following proof:

  • Desexed– a certificate from your vet confirming your pet is desexed will be required to register a desexed animal.
  • Pensioner– a copy of your current pension card and a confirmation certificate from your vet that your pet is desexed will be required to register your pet under the pensioner concession.
  • Recognised Breeder– proof of current membership of Dogs NSW, NSW Cat Fanciers Association, Waratah State Cat Alliance or any other body approved by the Chief Executive, and documentation verifying the cat or dog is of a breed accepted by the recognised breeder body, and a signed statement from the member that the animal is to be kept for breeding purposes.

Companion Animals

Microchipped Pet

Registration Changes

You must notify Council in the following instances to change the registration details for your pet:

  • You change your address or contact details
  • Change of owner
  • Dog declared dangerous by a Court
  • The animal dies
  • The animal has been missing for more than 72 hours

Working Dogs in NSW

sheep dog

A working dog is a dog used primarily for the purpose of droving, tending, working or protecting stock, and includes a dog being trained as a working dog.

Hunting dogs and guard dogs do not have any special status as working dogs under the Companion Animals Act. Just because an animal is kept for purposes other than that of a pet, does not necessarily mean it is a “working dog”.

Under the Companion Animals Act, dogs that meet the definition of a “working dog” are exempt from microchipping and registering when:

  • the working dog resides on land defined and rated as farmland under the Local Government Act 1993, or
  • the working dog is kept in the Western Division of NSW, being not within a local government area.

All other working dogs MUST be microchipped and registered. However, a nil dollar (free) registration fee applies. All working dogs are exempt from wearing a collar and tag while actively working on their owner’s property.

The exemption from micropchipping and lifetime registration for working dogs may be lost in the following circumstances:

  • If the dog is seized and impounded
  • If the dog is declared dangerous
  • If the dog is the subject of a nuisance order
  • If the dog ceases to be a working dog.

Working dogs impounded by the Ranger must be microchipped and registered for life prior to release from the pound.

Problem or Nuisance Dogs


Problem or nuisance dogs are dealt with according to the NSW Companion Animals Act 1998.

If you are having problems because of excessive barking or wandering dogs you can contact Council’s Ranger during normal business hours on 0418 684 710.

Council suggests that in the first instance you should approach the owner of the dog, as they may not be aware that the nuisance exists. In most cases owners want to do the right thing and will co-operate. if unsuccessful, Council’s ranger will investigate the problem and take appropriate action.

Dogs bark for a number of reasons, but this may result in a nuisance for neighbours which can have a serious effect on the quality of life. Barking is one of the ways in which a dog communicates. In some instances constant barking may indicate a problem with a dogs health or happiness.

If your dog is a constant barker you should contact your local vet. If diet and insufficient exercise are ruled out as the cause, consider an anti-bark collar.

Exercise alone will not stop a dog from barking, but it may provide an active release for its energy. Obedience training also allows the opportunity of socialisation with other dogs and people, which is an important element in a dog’s life.

Restricted Breeds and Dangerous Dogs

Restricted Breeds and Dangerous Dogs

Changes to the Companion Animals legislation introduced increased control provisions for restricted and declared dangerous dogs as well as higher penalties for non-compliance. This may include the seizure and destruction of a dog in certain circumstances.

The breeds of dogs that are subject to import restrictions by the Federal Government are:

  • Pitt Bull Terriers
  • American Pitt Bull Terriers
  • Japanese Tosas
  • Dogo Argentino (Argentinian Fighting Dogs)
  • Fila Brasiliero (Brazilian Fighting Dog)
  • Any other dog of a kind or breed, kind or description, whose importation into Australia is prohibited by, or under, the Customs Act 1901 of the Commonwealth (Perro de Presa or Presa Canario)
  • Any dog declared by an authorised officer of a Council, under Division 6 of the Companion Animals Act 1998, to be a restricted dog.

A dangerous dog is one that attacks or kills a person or other animal without being provoked and you must report it to your local Council within 24 hours of the attack or injury. The companion Animals Act 1998 allows a Council to declare a dangerous dog. Dangerous dogs must be:

  • Controlled by an adult over 18 years of age
  • Kept in child-proof enclosures
  • Display an official dangerous dog warning sign
  • Leashed and muzzled in public
  • Desexed.

Download Brochure –Restricted and dangerous dogs(PDF, 141KB)

Off-Leash Area For Dogs at Lightning Ridge

Off Leash

Dogs benefit greatly from the chance to run freely. Under the Companion Animals Act 1998, each Council must provide at least one off-leash area where dogs can be exercised off-leash during certain hours.

You, or the person looking after your dog/s, should not be in control of more than 4 dogs at the one time and you, or the person looking after the dog/s, should be capable of controlling the dog/s at all times in the off-leash area.

The established off-leash area for dogs in Lightning Ridge is on part of the racecourse recreation reserve known as the Lightning Ridge Sports Ground/Racecourse, within part of Crown Reserve R84117, in Onyx Street, at the end of the Lightning Ridge racecourse, as per the map attached below:

Map-of-Off-Leash-Area-for-Dog-at-Lightning-Ridge(PDF, 270KB)

Signs have been erected at the off-leash area with the following information for dog owners:

  • Keep dogs off the sporting fields
  • Your dog must always be under effective control*
  • If any dogs shows signs of aggression or anti-social behaviour then the dog’s handler must remove their dog immediately
  • Dog faeces must be removed immediately.

*Effective control means that your dog responds to your command and remains close to you. If your dog does not respond, do not allow it off the leash.

Fines apply for breaches of these requirements.

Regulatory Officer (Ranger)


Council’s Regulatory Officer (Ranger) provides a range of services for the public.

Duties include Companion Animal microchipping, free removal of unwanted pets and impounding of stray animals.

The Regulatory Officer is also on call for emergency situations such as dogs attacking people or animals. The Police service also has the ability to deal with emergency situations.

Other Regulatory Officer responsiblities include:

  • Issue “on the spot” infringement notices for breaches of animal and pollution related offences.
  • Patrol of streets, laneways and public areas in respect of the administration of dog control and abandoned vehicles.
  • Investigate public complaints and take appropriate action.

For all enquiries please phone Council’s Regulatory Officer (Ranger) on 0418 684 710 (follow the prompts after hours)

Contact Details

Walgett Shire Council
Phone: 02 6828 1399
Fax: 02 6828 1608

Further information:

Visit the Companion Animals section of the NSW Office of Local Government Website