As with all dogs in the Territory, greyhounds (including racing greyhounds) are required to be registered when the dog is over 8 weeks old; has been kept in the ACT for 28 days or more; or the dog’s keeper has been an ACT resident for 28 days or more.
Owners of greyhounds wishing to breed their dogs can apply to Domestic Animal Services to keep their dog/s entire. This permit means they are exempt from the offence of owning a dog which has not been desexed. It is a strict liability offence under the Domestic Animals Act 2000 to own a dog which has not been desexed.
However some exemptions to apply which include:
- the dog is less than six months old, or
- Domestic Animal Services is satisfied the dog is a racing greyhound.
Keeping four or more dogs
Under the Domestic Animals Act, it is an offence for a person to keep four or more dogs unless in accordance with a multiple dog licence.
The licence is issued by Domestic Animal Services after a site visit is conducted. A licence will only be granted where a number of requirements have been met, including the suitability of the owner (i.e. no previous animal welfare offences), and the suitability of the premises and the pens/runs in which the dogs will be kept. DAS also consults with surrounding residents before issuing a licence.
Greyhounds in public places
Recent amendments to the Domestic Animals Act (which commenced on 15 June 2017) removed the requirement for greyhounds to wear a muzzle while in public, and the limit of three greyhounds being walked at any one time.
Greyhounds need to comply with all other existing requirements for dogs in public places. This includes being on a leash except in designated off-leash areas or enclosed dog parks and complying with all animal nuisance requirements.
As part of its existing services, greyhound owners wishing to surrender their dogs may surrender them to Domestic Animal Services or RSPCA ACT. Owners will be requested to complete a surrender form which outline the dog's history and assists Rangers in assessing the dogs for rehoming. Domestic Animal Services actively works with many rescue groups, including Greyhound Rescue, to re-home as many dogs as possible.
The treatment of greyhounds is covered by the existing penalties against animal cruelty in the Territory. Maximum penalties of up to 100 penalty units ($15,000) or 1 year imprisonment or both apply where person commits an act of cruelty on an animal. In certain circumstances, that penalty rises to 200 penalty units ($30,000) and 2 years imprisonment where the cruelty causes death or serious injury to an animal.