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Being a dog owner is enjoyable and rewarding however brings with it responsibilities.
Dog registration is compulsory in the ACT. There is no mutual agreement between States and Territories for dog registration, and all dogs which are kept in the ACT must be registered here.
All dogs must be registered if:
- they are over eight weeks old
- they have been kept in the ACT for 28 days or more
- the dog's keeper has been a resident of the ACT for 28 days or more.
Registration is for the lifetime of the dog and a registration form is available online.
It is a strict liability offence under the Domestic Animals Act 2000 to own a dog which has not been desexed. Exemptions include:
- the dog is less than six months old
- the dog was born before 21 June 2001
- the keeper of the dog holds a sexually entire permit issued by the Registrar of Domestic Animal Services.
Desexing is essential to reduce the number of neglected or abandoned dogs. It may also improve behaviour, reduce aggression and help to reduce reproductive health problems later in life. Female dogs do not need to produce a litter for full physical and emotional development.
Application forms for a permit to keep a dog which has not been desexed are available from Domestic Animal Services. If you intend to breed a litter from your dog, you will also need a breeding licence. Fees and conditions apply prior to the granting of the permit and licence.
Desexing is essential to reduce the number of neglected or abandoned dogs. It may also improve behaviour and helps to reduce reproductive health problems later in life. Female dogs do not need to produce a litter for full physical and emotional development.
All dogs in the ACT must be microchipped.
Microchipping is not an alternative to registration and both are compulsory.
Microchipping is a safe procedure where a silicon chip, approximately the size of a grain of rice, is implanted under the skin of the animal. The procedure takes less than a minute and, once inserted, the chip cannot be lost. A dog or cat of any age can be microchipped.
Few animals show any signs of discomfort during this simple and quick procedure.
Dogs can be microchipped by Domestic Animal Services, the RSPCA or any veterinarian.
Microchipping is an effective way for animal shelters and vets to identify lost dogs and cats for quick return to their owners.
If you've ever lost your pet you'll understand the stress and upset it can cause to the whole family. Having your dog or cat microchipped is a simple and easy way to reduce the anguish and it could save your pet's life.
If you move house, you should update both your pet's registration and microchipping records to reflect the details are updated. To update your contact details please email DAS at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Access Canberra on 13 22 81.
Keeping four or more dogs
To have four or more dogs on a residential premise in the ACT, you must have a keeper's licence issued by Domestic Animal Services.
Under section 18 of the Domestic Animals Act 2000 it is an offence to keep four or more dogs unless in accordance with a multiple dog licence.
Persons wishing to keep four or more dogs must make an application under section 19 of the Domestic Animals Act 2000 for a multiple dog licence. An application form can be obtained from Domestic Animal Services.
Prior to lodging your application each individual dog must be registered, micro-chipped and de-sexed (unless the keeper holds a sexually entire permit). You are also required to provide a map and photos of your premises, outlining any existing facilities and any proposed construction. A Ranger from Domestic Animal Services must also conduct a site inspection of your property and consult with surrounding residents.
The Registrar may take numerous things into consideration before granting a licence. This includes, but is not limited to:
- the number and kind of dogs to which the application relates
- the size and nature of the premises where the dogs are proposed to be kept
- the security of the premises
- the suitability of facilities for keeping the dogs on the premises
- the potential impact on the neighbouring premises
- any conviction or finding of guilt of the applicant within the last 10 years against a Territory or State law for an offence relating to the welfare, keeping or control of an animal.
Minimum requirements to hold a multiple dog licence include:
- written approval from your landlord if you are a tenant
- no objections from your neighbours
- pens or runs must be constructed in such a way that:
- they are escape proof
- no part of the structure is closer than two metres from a boundary fence
- they are large enough to allow freedom of movement
- they have adequate shelter from the elements
- the floor of the structure facilitates hygienic disposal of animal waste and ease of cleaning.
- adequate conditions for sanitary disposal of collected waste
- dogs must be penned when the house is unattended (they may use the rest of the yard for exercise when you are home).
Payment of fees
A fee is payable if the licence is granted. A yearly renewal applies and must be paid at Domestic Animal Services.
If you have any questions in relation to these guidelines, please call Access Canberra on 13 22 81 or visit Domestic Animal Services on Mugga Lane, Symonston during opening hours.
Dogs out in public
The community expects to be able to enjoy public places without fear or threat of being attacked by dogs or walking on dog excrements. Residents are also entitled to enjoy their garden without dogs roaming onto their property or being disturbed by excessive noise from barking.
Dogs in the ACT must be on leash in public places except in designated off leash areas and enclosed dog parks. Visit where can I take my dog, for more information about off leash areas, dog parks and prohibited areas.
When taking a dog into a public place remember the following:
- You must have effective control of your dog at all times
- remove all dog droppings
- carry appropriate equipment to pick up dog droppings
- keep the dog on leash except in designated off leash areas
- do not leave a dog unattended
- do not take a dog into prohibited areas or places
- do not take a female dog on heat into a public place.
The Domestic Animals Act 2000 states that an animal nuisance exists if the keeping or behaviour of an animal causes a condition, state or activity that constitutes:
- damage to property owned by a person other than the keeper
- excessive disturbance to a person other than the keeper because of noise
- danger to the health of an animal or a person other than the keeper.
Animal nuisance now also includes repeated instances of a dog not being kept under control by the dog's keeper or owner.
Find out more about addressing animal nuisance on the Animal Nuisance web page.