Information for dog owners

Do I have to register my dog?

Every dog six months or older must be registered by its owner with the Huon Valley Council.

Annual registration fees are due before 31 July each year. Discounted fees apply until 5pm, 31 July each year.

Register your dog

What information is kept about registered dogs?

  • 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 that the Council considers relevant.

What happens if I move house?

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

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

The person who buys your dog will need to notify the Council in writing of the change of ownership 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 also be done within 14 days of the sale.

What happens if my dog dies?

If your dog dies, please notify the Council within 14 days.

You must also notify the Council within 14 days if your dog is lost or permanently removed from your home.

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

What are my responsibilities as a dog owner?

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 your 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.

Does my dog have to wear a collar?

The owner of person in charge of a dog (other than a guide dog or hearing dog) must ensure that the dog is wearing a collar when 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.

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

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

  • the dog is in close proximity to the person handling the dog
  • 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.

Where can I exercise my dog?

Are there areas where my dog is not allowed?

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.

Do I have to clean up after my dog?

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.

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

Can my dog be removed from my property?

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.

How many dogs may I keep?

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  Licence to keep dogs Information Pack

If you have more dogs than permitted and do not have a current kennel licence you may be fined.

If you need a kennel licence you should also check with the Council about whether a development application is also required.

What is a dangerous dog?

Dogs may be declared dangerous if they have:

  • caused serious injury to a person or other animal; or
  • 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 at least 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.

The dog must also be microchipped and always wear an approved collar.

Once a dangerous 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.

What is a nuisance dog?

A nuisance dog is generally one that:

  • behaves in a dangerous way towards any person; or
  • 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 a complaint form (available from the Council’s Customer Service Centre), pay a fee, and explain the nature and severity of the disturbance.

Can I keep a guard dog?

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.

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

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

The Council can impound your dog if it is found at large outside your property.

If the dog is wearing a registration disc the General Manager will let you know in writing that your dog has been impounded, and tell you that the dog can be reclaimed. If, 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 three working days to sell, destroy or otherwise dispose of the dog.

If your dog has been seized and impounded, you will be given five 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 Dog Control Act
  • the appropriate registration fee if the dog isn’t already registered.

When can a dog be destroyed by me?

It is legal to restrain or destroy a dog under the following circumstances:

  • the dog is attacking you personally
  • 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 needs 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 about their rights and responsibilities in relation to 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.

 

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

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.

 

Can I be fined if my dog barks?

Dog owners may be fined if they fail to prevent their dog from barking incessantly.

Information on how to control your dog’s barking