Dogs make wonderful companion animals and are an important part of our community. But, if not managed well, dogs can sometimes create a nuisance in our communities.
As the owner or person in charge of a dog you have certain responsibilities and legal requirements. Please see below important information for dog owners and how to report nuisance dogs or dog attacks.
Yes, it is a requirement of the Dog Control Act 2000 that all dogs over 6 months of age must be registered with their local council and be microchipped. It is the responsibility of the dog owner to ensure their dog is registered. If a dog belongs to a child, the registration must be in the name of a parent or guardian. Your dog must wear a collar with its registration tag attached, whenever in a public place. Replacement tags can be purchased from Council’s Customer Service Centre.
Dog registrations expire on the 30th of June each year. Council provides renewal notices as a courtesy to dog owners whose dogs were registered the previous year, but it remains the responsibility of the dog owner to ensure the registration fee is paid by the due date and to register any new dogs within 14 days of the dog residing at their address.
If you are planning to move house permanently or moving temporarily for more than 60 days with your dog, please let Council know within 14 days of moving. If you are moving to a different Council area, both your old and new Council will need to be notified. If you have more than two dogs over the age of six months or more than four working dogs over the age of six months, you will also need to apply for a Licence to Keep Dogs.
For more information on how to register your dog visit our Dog Registration page.
All dogs over six months of age must be microchipped, some exemptions do apply. If you have recently adopted a dog or moved house, please ensure your dog is microchipped, and the microchip details are up to date.
Each microchip has a unique 15-digit number which can be read using a microchip scanner and lasts for the lifetime of your dog. There are a range of places you can take your dog to check for a microchip. Your local council, local vet, some pet shops, Dogs Home of Tasmania, RSPCA. If you are unable to detect a microchip, organise to get your dog microchipped as soon as possible. Microchipping may be as cheap as $20 if it is done at the same time as other treatments such as vaccinations or de-sexing. Microchipping on its own may cost between $40-$100.
Your dog’s unique number is stored in an animal registry so that you can be contacted if your dog is lost.
To find out which animal registry your dog is registered with, or to check your contact details are up to date go to: www.petaddress.com.au and enter your dog’s microchip number.
If you live in Tasmania, your dog is mostly likely registered with one of the following animal registries.
Central Animal Records
Australasian Animal Registry
The Office of Racing Integrity (Racing greyhounds only)
Does my dog have to be registered with both my council and an animal microchip registry?
Yes, it is a legal requirement of the Dog Control Act 2000 for your dog to be registered with your council and be microchipped.
The council registration disc that your dog wears on its collar and the microchip will both be used to help the council return your dog to you if your dog gets lost, strays or is impounded by council. You could also add a second disc with your contact details on your dog’s collar. This will help a person contact you if they find your dog, without needing to contact the council.
If your dog is stolen, their microchip number is very important to help you prove you are their legal owner and will help your dog be returned to you.
Once your dog is registered, council keeps a record of the following details:
Your dog’s name, age, sex, breed, colour, registration class and microchip number.
The owner’s name, date of birth, residential address, postal address, phone number, email address.
If any of the above information changes you will need to contact Council within 14 days.
- If you have changed your postal or residential address.
- If you have changed your contact details -mobile or email address.
- If you have moved out of the Huon Valley.
- If you are no longer the owner of the dog.
- If your dog has passed away.
- If your dog is lost, stollen or permanently removed from your home.
- If your dog has been desexed.
To update your registration details visit our Update your dog registration page.
As the owner or person in charge of a dog, you have certain responsibilities and legal requirements. These include:
- Registering your dog once they are six months of age and keeping the registration details up to date.
- Microchipping your dog once they are six months of age and keeping the microchip details up to date.
- Ensuing your dog is securely contained to your property when at home and remains under effective control at all times.
- Ensuring that a female dog on heat is confined away from public places.
- Ensuring your dog does not cause a nuisance or unreasonably interfere with the peace, comfort or convenience of any person in any premises or public place.
- Ensuring your dog does not behave in a dangerous way towards any person or animal.
- Ensuing your dog is wearing a collar with their registration tag attached when in a public place.
- Keeping your dog on a lead when you are walking on a road or footpath in a built-up area.
- Cleaning up after your dog when in a public place.
- Restricting your dog sufficiently while it is in or on a vehicle.
- Preventing your dog from rushing at or chasing a moving vehicle or bicycle.
Off-Lead Exercise Areas
For your dog to be under effective control while in an off-lead area it must remain in close proximity to you, be insight of you at all times and be immediately responsive to your commands. If you cannot confidently ensure you have your dog under effective control when off-lead you must keep your dog on a lead.
Off-lead exercise areas are provided by council as a fun area for you to exercise with your dog. When using an off-lead exercise area do not allow your dog to approach another dog without the owner’s permission. Do not allow your dog to act aggressively towards other dogs or people. If your dog becomes aggressive, scared or distressed, immediately put them on a lead and remove them from the area until they are calm.
Built Up Areas
When in a built-up area all dogs must remain on-lead whenever they are on a road or road-related area, this includes footpaths, nature strips and any track that is open to the public and designed to be used by cyclists or pedestrians. You must have your dog on a lead no more than 2 meters long and the lead must be held by a person able to control the dog.
A built-up area means an area where there are buildings on the land next to the road and there is street lighting.
Walking a dog outside a built-up area
Wherever you are with your dog, it is always YOUR responsibility to ensure your dog remains under effective control at all times. As a reminder this means your dog must remain in close proximity to you, be insight of you at all times and be immediately responsive to your commands. Your dog must not enter onto private property without the consent of the property owner. If you cannot confidently ensure you have your dog under effective control when off-lead you must keep your dog on a lead.
Never allow your dog to approach another dog without the owner’s permission. Do not allow your dog to harass, annoy, inconvenience or act aggressively towards other dogs, animals or people. Remember, beaches, tracks and pathways are shared spaces for everyone to enjoy. You may encounter other people using these areas. Families, horses, bike riders, joggers or other walkers, you must not let your dog approach or interact with other users without their permission.
The Huon Valley has many great places to exercise your dog both on and off-lead. Regular exercise helps to keep your dog happy and healthy, helps to strengthen the bond between you and your dog and can help to reduce stress and nuisance behaviours such as barking, digging and jumping.
However, under the Dog Control Act 2000 there are areas where dogs are not allowed, all Council sports grounds, halls, indoor sports buildings, clubrooms and churches without specific authority of the property owner.
Dogs are not allowed in Tasmania’s national parks and nature reserves. Dogs are welcome in some Conservation Areas, Regional Reserves and Nature Recreation Areas, and some State Reserves. See Parks & Wildlife Service page for details.
Huon Valley Council currently has one Declared Dog Prohibited area under the Huon Valley Council Dog Management Policy and that is Burtons Reserve in Cygnet.
OFF-LEAD EXERCISE AREAS
- Ranelagh Showground – Excluding oval and surrounds.
- Huonville Dog Park – Heron Street.
- Franklin Foreshore.
- Shipwrights Point Regatta Ground, Port Huon.
- Geeveston Dog Park – Fenced area within Heritage Park.
- Cygnet Dog Park – Within fenced area at Cygnet Sports Ground.
If you are the victim or have witnessed a dog attack, please seek medical or veterinary treatment and report the incident immediately to Council on (03) 6264 0300.
If you contact Council’s after hour service, all information will be documented, and the on-call officer will contact you as soon as possible.
You can also report the incident to Council by completing a Dog Attack Incident Report online or download and compete the PDF.
Reporting the incident
Like all serious incidents, time is a critical factor in dealing with dog attacks. This is especially important if the offending dog is wandering at large and still poses a risk to the public or other animals. To help council investigate an incident, please try to gather as much of the following information before contacting us:
The date, time and exact location of the attack. If you are not sure, you may be able to use a smart phone to check your location on a map.
- A description of the offending dog/s – Breed, colour, sex, size, markings, registration disc, name tag, collar size and colour.
- A description of the owner – Name, address, contact phone number, male or female, age, hair colour, clothing.
- If a car was involved and the offender drove away with the dog – Car registration number, make, model, colour.
- A description and photographs of any injuries sustained and the location on your body or your pet’s body.
- You should also keep copies of any medical certificates, vet or doctor bills as evidence.
What happens when a dog is reported?
- An authorised council officer will contact you to get further information, they may take a statement or affidavit from you, or ask you to complete a Statutory Declaration.
- Photos may be taken of any injuries to yourself, or your animals.
- The dog’s owner may be contacted to get their side of the incident.
- The officer may then seek witness statements and other evidence.
- The officer will then assess the circumstances and evidence and make a decision for action.
- Council will then issue legal notices as required.
Depending on the severity of the attack, council can:
- Issue a warning or advised letter.
- Issue an infringement notice.
- Declare the dog to be a Dangerous Dog.
- Seize and destroy the dog.
- Take direct court action.
Who is responsible?
You are responsible for your dog’s actions. It is an offence against the Dog Control Act 2000 for a dog to attack, harass or chase a person, car or other animal.
An authorised person may seize and detain any dog which the person has reasonable cause to believe has committed a dog attack offence. If your dog has been seized by a council officer following an alleged attack, then that dog will be detained at Huon Valley Council’s Dog Pound while the allegation is under investigation.
For more information see Dog Control Act 2000 – Part 3: Control of Dogs.
If you have any questions, contact council’s Compliance Officers on (03) 6264 0300.
Preventing dog bites
Dogs bite for many reasons. The most common reasons are fear, pain or confusion when mixing with people and other dogs. Ignoring signs of aggression can result in serious injury to you, a member of your family or others. You can discourage biting by:
- Socialising your dog from an early age so that it learns how to mix with other dogs and other people in public.
- Avoiding situations that may cause your dog to become nervous or anxious.
- Training your dog – obedience classes help you learn about your dog, its body language and how you can communicate with it.
- Desexing your dog, on average an entire dog are more aggressive then a sterilised dog.
- Talking to your vet if your dog shows any signs of aggression towards people.
Dogs may be declared dangerous if they have:
- Caused serious injury to a person or other animal; or
- There is reasonable cause to believe that the dog is likely to cause serious injury to a person or another animal.
If either of the above occurs, the General Manager is able to serve notice on the owner of the dog and give reasons for the declaration in that notice, advising the owner of their rights of appeal.
A dangerous dog can be identified in public by a red and yellow fluorescent diagonal striped collar. The following conditions apply in order for a dangerous dog to be under effective control whilst in a public place:
- The person in charge of the dog is over 18 years.
- The dog is wearing a muzzle so as to be unable to bite a person or animal.
- The dog is wearing an approved collar.
- The dog is on a lead that is not more than 2 meters long, is held by hand, and is sufficient to control and restrain the dog’; or
- Restricted in or on a vehicle so that it is unable to leave the vehicle or attack any person or animal outside the vehicle.
The dog must be microchipped and always wear an approved collar. 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.
Dangerous dog enclosures: As per Section 32 of the Dog Control Act 2000, when not in a public place, a dangerous dog must be housed in an enclosure that complies with the Dog Control Regulations 2021. Owners are advised to contact council prior to constructing any enclosure to determine if building or planning approvals are required. Council may detain a dangerous dog until a suitable enclosure has been built. The dog owner will be responsible for the costs of council holding the dog. If a suitable enclosure is not built, council may destroy the dog and recover all costs from the owner.
Sale and purchase of dangerous dogs: A person who wishes to become the owner of a dangerous dog must apply to their council for approval to have ownership transferred to them. All dogs declared to be dangerous dogs in other states will be recognised as such in Tasmania and approval will be required before the dog can be imported into the state. A dangerous dog may only be sold or given away after the buyer or new owner has received prior approval from their council.
All dog owners have a responsibility under the Dog Control Act 2000 to ensure their dog does not create a nuisance. A nuisance exists if a dog creates a noise, by barking or otherwise, that persistently occurs or continues to such an extent that it unreasonably interferes with the peace, comfort or convenience of any person in any premises or public place.
If your dog is barking for prolonged periods throughout the day or night this would likely be creating an unreasonable noise nuisance to the surrounding properties.
It has been Council’s experience that often a dog owner is unaware their dog is causing a nuisance, particularly if the owner is absent from the property when the barking occurs. Many owners of nuisance dogs have demonstrated they can manage the situation once they become aware of the problem.
On receipt of an informal barking complaint council will notify the owner of the dog that there may be a barking issue that requires their attention. We recommend they monitor their dog’s behaviour and provide some resources for excessive barking.
A good resource is the RSPCA Knowledgebase website, kb.rspca.org.au which provides some helpful information on excessive barking.
In most circumstances council will then allow two (2) weeks for the dog owners to voluntarily manage their dog’s behaviour. In the event that the nuisance continues beyond two (2) weeks and the complainant would like Council to formally investigate the matter, they are required to submit a formal notice of complaint. This formal notice is required under section 47 of the Dog Control Act 2000 and Council is unable to formally investigate the matter unless this is complied with.
There is a fee associated with this lodgement, which is fully refundable unless the complaint is considered by council to be frivolous or vexatious. This fee is also a requirement of the Dog Control Act 2000.
Should you intend to lodge a formal complaint. The above form should be completed in full, signed and returned to council, together with the appropriate lodgement fee.
It is strongly recommended that you provide the details of 2 witnesses who are prepared to support your claims and complete a written record of the dates, times and duration of the barking or other noise caused by the offending dog/s. This record should be maintained over at least seven (7) days and will greatly facilitate the investigation of your complaint.
A barking log sheet is included with the Notice of Complaint form you can print out additional pages as needed. You should be prepared to give evidence before a magistrate that the dog/s in question are creating an unreasonable nuisance, if the matter cannot be otherwise resolved.
If an authorised officer is satisfied that a dog is creating a nuisance, they may serve an abatement notice on the owner or person in charge of the dog.
An abatement notice is to state:
- The nature of the nuisance; and
- Any action to be taken that the authorised officer considers to be necessary to abate the nuisance; and
- The period within which such action is to be taken.
Failure to comply with the requirements of an abatement notice may result in an infringement notice being issued.
Under section 50 of the Dog Control Act 2000 a person must not keep or allow dogs to be kept on any premises if they have more than two (2) dogs over the age of six months; or more than four (4) working dogs over the age of six months without a Licence to Keep Dogs.
When do I need to apply for a licence to keep dogs?
Any person who wishes to keep more than two dogs over the age of six months on their property, or more than four working dogs over the age of six months, must apply to the General Manager of their local council for a Licence to Keep Dogs.
How do I apply for a licence?
First you need to place a ‘Notice of Intention to apply for a Licence to keep dogs’ in the Mercury Newspaper. See Attachment A in the Licence To Keep Dogs Information Pack (PDF). There is no requirement for a specified day that the advert must be advertised. Once the notice of intention has been advertised, you need to lodge your application together with a copy of the advertisement with Council and pay the application fee. You are also required to register all dogs that are currently on the property.
How will Council process the application?
In accordance with section 53 of the Dog Control Act 2000 the General Manager cannot consider an application until 28 days after the notice of intention has been advertised. During this time any objections that may have been submitted in respect of the application will be noted for consideration.
Following the application being submitted and the application fee paid a Compliance Officer will undertake an inspection of your premises, to ascertain the suitability to keep more than two dogs.
Who may object to an application?
In accordance with section 52 of the Dog Control Act 2000 any persons residing within 200 metres of the boundary of the premises to which a licence relates may object in writing to the General Manager against the granting of the licence, within 14 days after the notice of intention has been advertised.
How will Council reach a decision?
There are several factors that are taken into consideration when determining if a licence should be granted, these are:
- Any objections received.
- Any previous complaints received in regards to the dogs on the premises.
- The likelihood of the dogs creating a nuisance.
- If premises is fit for the purposes of keeping dogs.
- Is it in the public’s interest that a licence not be issued.
- Adequate provision for the health, welfare and control of the dogs is provided.
- Requirements under public health and environmental protection laws are satisfied.
At the site inspection the officer will check the following:
Containment – You must have sufficient containment to keep your dogs on your property and have sufficient space to allow the dogs reasonable freedom of movement. The dogs must not create or become a nuisance within the meaning of section 46 of the Dog Control Act 2000.
Shelter – They must have shelter and raised beds. – If your dog’s always have access to inside the house, this is sufficient. If there are times when the dogs do not have access to the house, you will need to provide shelter outside and raised sleeping areas which provide adequate ventilation and insulation to maintain a comfortable temperature, freedom from condensation and an adequate supply of fresh air.
Disposal of faeces and wastewater – Solid dog faeces and wastewater from dogs kept at the premises are to be disposed of in a manner so as to not cause a nuisance within the meaning of section 199 of Local Government Act 1993 or an Environment Nuisance within the meaning of the Environmental Management and Pollution Control Act 1994.
Registration – All dogs over 6 months of age listed on the licence must be registered in accordance with the requirements of the Dog Control Act 2000.
Where a licence is granted, the applicant will be notified via mail, outlining any specific conditions of the licence and a permit for the licence will be attached.
What can I do if Council refuses to grant a licence?
If an application is refused the applicant will be advised via mail, outlining reasons in accordance with Section 59 of the Act, if an application is refused the applicant does have the right of appeal, the applicant may apply to the Magistrates Court (Administrative Appeal Division).
Renewal of Licence: A ‘licence to keep dogs’ is valid for a twelve (12) month period expiring 30 June each year. Council issues renewal notices in May/June of each year, at that time you need to make an application to Council for renewal of your licence, pay the prescribed renewal fee and a compliance officer will contact you to conduct an inspection of your property to ensure you are still meeting the conditions of your licence.
What happens if I want to increase the number of dogs or replace one breed with another or I move property?
The licence that is granted specifies the number and breed of dogs to which the licence relates, therefore if you wish to increase the number of dogs or change the breed kept you will be required to re-apply for a licence. Likewise, if you move residence, the licence is not transferable, therefore you will be required to re-apply for the licence.
Council can withdraw a licence at any time, where the licence holder fails to adhere to the conditions of the licence or the requirements of the Dog Control Act 2000.
It is every dog owner’s responsibility to ensure that their dog is contained and/or under effective control at all times. Owner’s risk being fined if their dog strays or is not under effective control.
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 how 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, Council 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 2000
- The appropriate registration fee if the dog isn’t already registered.
Under section 73 of the Dog Control Act 2000 Council may enter onto land owned or occupied by the owner and seize any dog on that land if they have reason to believe that a dog owner has breached a provision of the Dog Control Act 2000.
If the authorised person wishes to enter a dwelling on that land, they are able to do so by a warrant issued by a magistrate.
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.
- 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.
The Dog Control Act 2000 requires anyone who destroys a dog to do so quickly and humanely, without causing the animal unnecessary suffering.