Dogs and cats

Companion Animals Act

Dog/cat registrations and control - for further information visit the Office of Local Government website 

Your dog in our community

Council strives for a harmonious co-existence between residents and animals to provide a nuisance-free environment for all residents.

As a dog owner, you are responsible for the care and welfare of your animal and its existence in the community.

Council is responsible for the implementation of the NSW Dog Act and Companion Animals Act and associated regulations. The Acts have been produced by the Government to ensure that the harmonious co-existence between residents and animals is achieved. For further information visit the Office of Local Government website:  

Council's Rangers implement the requirements of the Act and Regulations.

The Rangers are available to advise you on the effective care and control of your dog. They know your responsibilities as an owner particularly the legal aspect.

Your dog must be registered

All puppies and any dog sold or given away after 1 July 1999, must be microchipped and registered for life. Dogs need to be microchipped within 12 weeks and registered by 6 months of age.

These fees are set by the Department of Local Government and rose from 1 July 2018 to:

  • Not desexed - $210
  • Desexed - $58
  • Animal under 6 months not desexed - $58
  • Recognised breeders - $58
  • Desexed animal owned by eligible pensioner - $25
  • Desexed animal sold by eligible pound or shelter - $29.00
  • Working dog - $0

On-the-spot fined may be issued to the owners of unregistered dogs.

Application forms for registration are available at Council's offices.

Control of your dog

Whenever your dog is outside the enclosed confines of your house yard, it must be on an adequate lead and under the effective control of a competent person.

No dogs at all

Dogs are prohibited from:

  • Council operated Caravan Parks at Crescent Head, Hat Head, Stuarts Point and Grassy Head.
  • All NSW national parks including Hat Head National Park, Limeburners Creek Nature Reserve and Arakoon State Conservation Area.
  • Sporting fields, school grounds, child care centres, all swimming pools and their precincts and from any public place which is a children's play area.
  • Within a radius of 10 metres of any apparatus in a public place, provided for the preparation and/or consumption of food.

Be careful on the beaches

Dogs are prohibited from the following beaches:

  • Inside an area north from Killick Creek, Crescent Head to the National Park boundary.
  • Inside an area from Saltwater Creek on the Main Beach, South West Rocks, east to the 'wrecks'.
  • Horseshoe Bay Beach, South West Rocks.
  • Inside an area from Korogora Creek at Hat Head to Pedestrian Access No. 6.
  • Inside an area from the headland at Grassy Head, north to a point 250 metres past beach access point from the Day Visitor area of the Reserve.
  • Inside an area from the Big Nobby Crescent Head to the Goolawah Beach vehicular access.

Regardless of the above, dogs on leads may be taken through a prohibited place for access to a permitted area by the shortest possible route.

Where you may take your dog

Dogs on leads may be exercised in public places at all times (except for the prohibited places) subject to the person in control of the dog cleaning up any fouling caused by the dog.

Remember to clean up your dogs droppings. Pooch pouches are currently available from Council's Civic Centre.

Special restrictions apply to the exercising of greyhounds.

Where you may slip the lead (off leash)

You may release your dog from the lead for exercise purposes in the following places:

  • Beaches under Council's control - except in those areas previously mentioned.
  • Inside an area of the south western corner of South Kempsey Park between the Tourist Information Centre and the tennis courts.

The dog must be under effective control of a competent person.

Again the person controlling the dog must clean up any fouling caused by the dog and dispose of the collected material in appropriate bins.


Dogs menacing and attacking

Where proof of ownership and the offence of menacing or attacking is verified and the complainant wishes to support legal action, the matter will be reported to Council for consideration of such action.

Provisions exist to declare the dog dangerous and special requirements would then apply.

On the Spot penalties

Provision has been made under the Acts for Penalty Notices to be issued "On-the-Spot" for offences.

Penalties vary. Maximum penalties if applied by the Courts are higher than the "On-the-Spot" fine.


Where a dog is impounded, it shall not be released to the owner or agent until all fees owing to the Council are paid. Such fees are the authorised impounding fees, sustenance fees, and registration fees if appropriate.

Be considerate

Dog owners have responsibilities both to their fellow citizens and their animal. An awareness of those responsibilities will help establish the harmonious co-existence between residents and animals that Council seeks.