Responsible Pet Ownership

Gwydir Shire recognises that pets are an enormous source of pleasure and companionship for many people. We welcome and encourage responsible pet ownership within the shire. Owning a pet is a big responsibility. There are many things you need to take into account to ensure the best for your dog’s welfare.

  • Dogs at all times must wear a collar with a name tag showing the name of the dog and address or telephone number.
  • Your dog must, unless it is exempt from this requirement, be under the effective control of a competent person at all times when out in public. This means that it must be on a leash and under the control of someone capable of restraining it. A small child, for example, may not be able to control a large dog. Under these circumstances, an adult capable of restraining the dog, should walk the dog.
  • A dog is not considered to be under the effective control of a competent person if the person has more than 4 dogs under his or her control.
  • If your dog is being exercised in an approved off-leash area it must always be under effective control of a competent person.
  • Pick up and remove the faeces immediately and dispose of them properly.
  • All dogs, apart from police and corrective service dogs and genuine assistance dogs, are banned from children's play area, food preparation or consumption areas, except cafes or restaurants whose owners permit dogs in their outdoor dining areas, recreation areas where dogs are prohibited, public bathing areas where dogs are prohibited, school grounds, child care centres, shopping centres where dogs are prohibited, wildlife protection areas.
  • Prevent your dog from escaping the property on which it is being kept.

Dog Attacks

Under the Companion Animals Act 1998 it is an offence for a dog to attack a person or another animal. If a dog rushes at, attacks, bites or harasses or chases any person or animal (other than vermin), whether or not any injury is caused to the person or animal:
1. The owner of the dog; or

2. If the owner is not present at the time of the offence, and another person who is of or above the age of 16 years is in charge of the dog at that time – that other person is guilty of an offence.

Reporting a Dog Attack

If you have seen a dog attack a person or animal, or been attacked by a dog yourself, irrespective of whether the attack happened on public or on private property, you should report it to Council on 02 6724 2000.

If the attack occurred outside local council hours, you can call the on-call ranger on 0417 792 650, you may also call your local police station. Police officers are also authorised officers under the Companion Animals Act 1998. Authorised officers have a wide range of powers to deal with owners of attacking dogs, including seizing dogs that have attacked.

Am I legally liable if my dog attacks another animal or person?

As a dog owner, you are liable if your dog attacks a person or another animal. While the Companion Animals Act 1998 gives certain protection to an owner whose dog attacks as a result of a person or an animal trespassing onto the property on which the dog is kept, other forms of liability may still apply.

Penalty Notices Associated with Animal Compliance

Penalty notices that can be issued under the Act, please note that there could be other penalties not listed here and are subject to change.*

Animal not permanently identified (microchipped)


Animal not registered


Failure to notify change of address/owner


Failure to prevent dog escaping


Dog not on lead in public place


Failure to immediately remove dog faeces from a public place


Dog in prohibited place


Owner or in charge of dog that rushes at/attacks/bites/harasses/chases any person/animal


*figures are correct as of July 2023