Huon Valley Council, Tasmania
Huon Valley Council, Tasmania

Dog Control Information

Important information concerning the interpretations of legislation and other policies contained in this page. It is recommended that the Disclaimer be read in conjunction with the information provided.

Dogs are great companion animals, but owning one means you have particular responsibilities, both to your pet and also to the general public. The Dog Control Act 2000 and the Dog Control Regulations 2001 provide for the control and management of dogs, as well as informing the community of what Council expects from dog owners.

The questions below are intended to address common concerns about dog control. If your particular question is not addressed, then please contact us on 6264 0300 or email hvc@huonvalley.tas.gov.au

 FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Registration and Identification

1. Do I have to register my dog?

2. How old does my dog have to be before it has to be registered?

3. How do I register my dog?

4. What information is kept about registered dogs?

5. What happens if I move house?

6. What happens if I sell or give my dog to someone else?

7. What happens if my dog dies?

Rights and Responsibilities

8. What are my responsibilities as a dog owner?

9. Does my dog have to wear a collar?

10. Does my dog have to be on a lead in public areas?

11. Where can I exercise my dog?

12. Are there areas where my dog is not allowed?

13. Do I have to clean up after my dog?

14. Can my dog be removed from my property?

15. How many dogs may I keep?

16. What happens if I do not obey the Act and Regulations?

Controlling Dogs

17. What is a dangerous dog?

18. What is a nuisance dog?

19. Can I keep a guard dog?

20. What happens if my dog leaves my property and is impounded?

21. When can a dog be destroyed?

22. Can I be fined if my dog strays into my neighbour's yard?

23. Can I be fined if my dog barks?

In addition to the legislation, Huon Valley Council also has a Dog Management Policy. This Policy addresses the following:

  • responsible ownership
  • declared areas
  • fee structure
  • education
1.  Do I have to register my dog? [Top of page]

According to the Dog Control Act 2000, every dog over the age of 6 months must be registered by its owner with their local council. It is a legal requirement, and trying to avoid this by concealing or disposing of a dog is a punishable offence.

In the Huon Valley Council the annual registration fee is due by 31 July of each year. Discounted fees apply until 5.00pm 31 July of each year.

2.  How old does my dog have to be before it has to be registered? [Top of page]

The  Dog Control Act 2000 requires all dogs over the age of six months to be registered with the local council.

3. How do I register my dog? [Top of page]

Dog registration forms are available from the Council Offices in 40 Main Street Huonville or can be downloaded.

Dog Registration Form(276 kb)(152 kb)

4.  What information is kept about registered dogs? [Top of page]

The following information is held in the council's dog register:

  • the dog's name, age, sex and reproductive capacity
  • the dog breed if identifiable
  • any identifiable feature of the dog
  • whether the dog is a dangerous dog
  • the owner's name and address
  • any other information about the dog the council considers relevant.
5.  What happens if I move house? [Top of page]

If you are moving house permanently, or moving temporarily for more than 60 days with your dog, you will need to notify the council. This needs to be done within 14 days of moving. If you're transferring to a different municipal area, both your old and new councils will need to be notified in writing.

6.  What happens if I sell or give my dog to someone else? [Top of page]

The person who buys your dog will need to notify the council of the change of ownership, in writing, within 14 days of the sale.

As the previous owner, you must notify the General Manager in writing that you no longer own the dog. This must occur within 14 days of the sale.

7.  What happens if my dog dies? [Top of page]

If the unfortunate situation arises and your pet dies, you are obliged to notify the Council in writing within 14 days of the dog's death. This also applies if your dog is lost, or permanently removed from your premises.

Once notified, the Council will cancel your dog's registration.

8.  What are my responsibilities as a dog owner? [Top of page]

As the owner or person in charge of a dog, you have certain responsibilities and legal requirements. These include:

  • registering a dog that is over the age of six months
  • keeping your dog on a lead when you are walking on a road or footpath in a city or town
  • ensuring that the dog does not roam and that it is under your effective control
  • restricting your dog sufficiently while it is in or on a vehicle so that it is unable to leave the vehicle or attack any person or animal outside the vehicle
  • preventing your dog from rushing at, or chasing a moving vehicle or bicycle whilst in a public place
  • making sure that a bitch on heat is confined away from public places
  • cleaning up after your dog.
9.  Does my dog have to wear a collar? [Top of page]

Under the Dog Control Act 2000 the owner or person in charge of a dog, other than a guide dog or hearing dog, must ensure that the dog is wearing a collar whilst in public.

The dog's current registration disc should be attached to the collar. It is an offence for anyone, without a good reason, to unfasten the collar.

This provision does not apply to dogs engaged in:

  • working
  • hunting
  • racing
  • showing
  • obedience or agility trials
  • training for any of the above activities.
10.   Does my dog have to be on a lead in public areas? [Top of page]

The Dog Control Act 2000 has provisions for dogs which are, and which are not on a lead, whilst in a public place.

If a dog is off a lead and in a public place, then the dog is still said to be under effective control if the following applies:

  • the dog is in close proximity to the person
  • the dog is in sight of the person
  • the person handling the dog can demonstrate satisfactorily to an authorised person that the dog will immediately respond to their commands.

To be under effective control on a road or footpath in a city or town a dog must be on a lead.

If the dog is on a lead, it is said to be under effective control only if the lead is less than two metres long, and if the person is of a sufficient age and strength to control the dog.

If a dog is tethered to a stationary object, is must be by a lead which is less than two metres long, and for a period not exceeding 30 minutes.

11.  Where can I exercise my dog? [Top of page]

The Dog Control Act 2000 provides for a council to set aside areas for the exercising of dogs, subject to any specified conditions.

Click here to view Exercise areas within the Huon Valley Council's municipal area.

12.  Are there areas where my dog is not allowed? [Top of page]

As well as earmarking areas for exercising dogs, The Dog Control Act 2000 enables councils to declare areas where dogs are not allowed. These can include areas of sensitive habitat for native wildlife. This does not apply to guide dogs or hearing dogs, which are still allowed access.

Council may declare an area to be one where dogs are restricted from entering:

  • during specified hours, days or seasons
  • during specified hours, days or seasons, unless they are on a lead.

There are other public places where dogs are prohibited. These include:

  • any grounds of a school, preschool, kindergarten, creche or other place where children assemble, without the permission of the person in charge of that place
  • shopping centres and other shops
  • the grounds of a public swimming pool
  • any playing area of a sportsground on which sport is being played
  • within 10 metres of a children's playground.

This does not apply to:

  • a guide dog that is accompanying a wholly or partially blind person, or is in training for that purpose
  • a hearing dog that is accompanying a wholly or partially deaf person or is in training for that purpose
  • a pet shop
  • the premises of a veterinary surgeon
  • a pet-grooming shop
  • any other premises related to the care and management of dogs.
13.  Do I have to clean up after my dog? [Top of page]

When exercising your dog in a public place you are always required to clean up after them. Dog faeces are unpleasant and damage the environment. Cleaning up can be done simply and easily with the aid of a scooper or plastic bag and placing the faeces into the nearest rubbish bin.

This does not apply to a guide dog that is accompanying a wholly or partially blind person.

Failure to clean up after your dog can result in a fine.

Rain dissolves dog faeces and it is washed into our waterways. Marine plant and animal life is affected by this pollution. Australian beaches are closed for several days after rain because of this type of pollution. Dog faeces contain E-coli bacteria which can cause ongoing illness in people including vomiting, diarrhoea, and ear, nose and throat infections.

Dog bag dispensers and bins are available at the majority of Council's declared exercise areas.

14.  Can my dog be removed from my property? [Top of page]

If an authorised council employee has reason to believe that a dog owner has breached a provision of the Dog Control Act 2000, then he or she is legally able to:

  • enter onto land owned or occupied by the dog owner, but not any dwelling on that land; and
  • search for and seize any dog on that land.

If the authorised person wishes to enter a dwelling on that land, he or she is able to do so by a warrant issued by a magistrate.

15.  How many dogs may I keep? [Top of page]

Under the Dog Control Act 2000 you are required to apply for a kennel licence if you intend to keep:

  • more than two dogs over the age of six months; or
  • more than four working dogs over the age of six months.

Further information can be found in the Kennel Licence Information Pack.

If you have more dogs than permitted and do not have a current kennel licence you can be liable to a fine. In this case you should apply to the Huon Valley Council for a kennel licence.

If you need a kennel licence you should also check with the Huon Valley Council about local planning laws as some councils require you to submit a Development Application as well. For further details on the process required to obtain a kennel licence, please contact one of Council's Municipal Inspectors on 6264 0300.

16.  What happens if I do not obey the Act and Regulations? [Top of page]

The penalties failing to obey dog control regulations are laid out in the Dog Control Act 2000.

17.  What is a dangerous dog? [Top of page]

Dogs may be declared dangerous if they have:

  • caused serious injury to a person or other animal
  • displayed behaviour that shows the animal is likely to cause serious injury.

If either of the above occurs, the General Manager is able to serve notice on the owner of the dog in question, and declare the dog to be dangerous.

When this happens the owner of the dog has added responsibilities. Whilst their dog is out in public they must ensure that:

  • the dog is always muzzled
  • the dog's lead is no longer than 2 metres and strong enough to control and restrain the dog
  • the person in charge of the dog is over 18 years of age.

When the dog is on private premises the owner must ensure that:

  • the dog is enclosed in a child proof area

In addition, the dog must be microchipped and always wear an approved collar.

The collar approved (by the Director of Local Government) is red and yellow striped, and is the same as that used in Victoria.

Once a dog has been microchipped the chip cannot be removed without the consent of the General Manager.

If you own a dog, that has been declared dangerous you must also ensure that there are approved warning signs on every entrance to your property. Council's Municipal Inspectors will be able to tell you what form these signs and collars should take.

18.  What is a nuisance dog? [Top of page]

A nuisance dog is generally one that:

  • behaves in a dangerous way towards any person
  • is often noisy or disturbs the comfort and convenience of neighbours, or anyone in a public place.

As a dog owner you are responsible for ensuring that your pet is kept under control and does not become a nuisance. Neighbours can complain if your dog unreasonably disturbs the peace, and you risk being fined if you fail to prevent the disturbance.

If you are being annoyed by a neighbour's dog the best way to handle the situation is to discuss your concerns in a friendly way with your neighbour. If this fails to resolve the problem, the next step is to speak with your local animal control officer. Lodging a formal complaint with the council should be your last resort, and to do so you will need to complete an appropriate form, pay a fee, and explain the nature and severity of the disturbance.

Complaint forms are available from the Council Offices in 40 Main Street Huonville.

19.  Can I keep a guard dog? [Top of page]

If you wish to keep a guard dog you need to notify the General Manager in writing. The General Manager will then declare the dog to be a dangerous dog, and the provisions relating to dangerous dogs will then apply. (See question 17)

When the dog is no longer employed as a guard dog, you can again notify the General Manager in writing, and he may revoke the declaration of dangerous dog.

20.  What happens if my dog leaves my property and is impounded? [Top of page]

Under the Dog Control Act 2000, an authorised council officer (usually the animal control officer) of the council can apprehend and impound your dog if it is found at large outside your property.

If the dog is wearing a registration disc the General Manager has to let you know in writing that your dog has been impounded, and tell you that the dog can be reclaimed. If, after five working days after the owner has received the notice, the dog has not been reclaimed, the General Manager may sell, destroy or otherwise dispose of the dog.

If the dog isn't wearing a registration disc and the owner is unidentifiable, the General Manager has to make reasonable inquiries to identify the rightful owner. If unsuccessful in locating the owner, he/she is authorised after not less than 3 working days to sell, destroy or otherwise dispose of the dog.

Under the Dog Control Act 2000, if your dog has been seized and impounded, you will be given 5 working days after having received the notice to pay:

  • any fees due in relation to the dog's seizure and detention
  • any other fees or charges that are applicable under the Act
  • the appropriate registration fee if the dog isn't already registered.
21.  When can a dog be destroyed by me? [Top of page]

The Dog Control Act 2000 states that it is legal to restrain or destroy a dog under the following circumstances:

  • if a dog is attacking you personally
  • if you see a dog attacking another person, another animal, or a guide dog or hearing dog.

If the situation calls for you to restrain a dog that is at large, you need to notify the council as soon as possible after the event.

If you are a primary producer and you have livestock that need to be protected, you have the legal right to destroy any dog that is found at large on your property. It is recommended that such a primary producer seeks independent legal advice in respect to their rights and responsibilities for the manner of destruction of the dog in these circumstances.

In extreme cases where a dog has been destroyed, the person who has carried out the deed must notify the Council within 14 working days and return the dog's registration disc if any was worn.

An authorised council officer or a veterinary surgeon may also seize or destroy a dog if:

  • its behaviour is likely to cause injury to another person or animal
  • it has already caused injury or death to another person or animal
  • it is found in such a distressed or disabled state that it is considered kinder to prevent it further suffering.

If a dog has been seized and destroyed, the authorised Council employee or veterinary surgeon must also notify the council of the animal's death, and the reasons why it was destroyed.

There is also a provision in the  Dog Control Act 2000 that requires anyone who destroys a dog to do so quickly and humanely, without causing the animal unnecessary suffering.

See question 20 for instances where Council has a right to dispose of dogs.

22.  Can I be fined if my dog strays into my neighbour's yard? [Top of page]

Your neighbours are entitled to enjoy their garden and backyard without having your dog roaming around in it. It is every dog owner's responsibility to ensure that his or her dog is under control at all times. Owners who do not control their dogs risk being fined when their dog strays.

See question 20 "What happens if my dog leaves my property and is impounded?" for related information.

23.  Can I be fined if my dog barks? [Top of page]

Yes, you may be fined. Under the Dog Control Act 2000 you must not allow your dog to be or become a nuisance to your neighbours, or to the general public. If sufficiently annoyed, people can complain and owners may be fined if they fail to prevent their dog from disturbing people with incessant barking.

Information on how to control barking dogs(63 kb)

 

See question 18 "What is a nuisance dog?" for related information.

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