Cats and dogs

Cats and dogs can be a great addition to a family, but there are certain responsibilities that come with ownership. The Animal Management (Cats and Dogs) Act 2008 promotes responsible pet ownership and is the law that imposes dogs are registered with Council.

This page contains information about keeping cats and dogs, including noise management, legislation and the stricter conditions for regulated animals.

Requirements, registrations and permits

Requirements

As a pet owner, you are required to comply with the Animal Management (Cats and Dogs) Act 2008 and possibly other local laws set by Council.

You can be a responsible pet owner by:

  • registering your dog at 12 weeks of age
  • microchipping your cat or dog
  • keeping your cat or dog's microchip details up to date
  • controlling your dog's barking
  • keeping your cat or dog in your property
  • walking your dog on a lead (unless in a designated off-leash area)
  • carrying a bag or container for picking up droppings
  • picking up your dog's droppings when in a public place.

If you are found to be in breach of the Act or local laws, you may be issued an infringement notice or on-the-spot fine.

The self-assessment checklists will help you decide if you would like to keep a cat or a dog as a pet:

As a pet owner you have a responsibility to provide for the welfare of your animals and to comply with:

Registration

In accordance to the Animal Management (Cats and Dogs) Act 2008, it is compulsory to register your dog with Council at 12 weeks of age.

Exceptions to this law apply to:

  • a government entity dog (i.e. police or customs dogs)
  • a working dog
  • another class of dog prescribed under a regulation.

If you move to a different Council area, you have 14 days to re-register your dog.

Contact Council to register your dog and confirm the cost of registration. Failure to register your dog could result in an infringement notice or on-the-spot fine.

Please note: The Queensland Government recently changed the laws regarding mandatory cat registrations. Due to these changes, it is recommended you contact Council to determine whether cat registrations still apply in your area.

New Application

Within Somerset Regional Council you may keep a maximum of two dogs on your property, if they are registered.

New residents to the region are required to register their dog/s within 14 days of moving.

Registration forms are available online and at Council Service Centres in Lowood, Esk and Kilcoy.

Please attend one of Council’s Service Centres to lodge your registration form. If your dog is de-sexed a de-sexing certificate must be provided to Council. Alternatively, statutory declarations are available to complete if a certificate is not available.

Microchipping is compulsory for all dogs born after 1 July 2009 or when animals have changed hands, whether it is sold or given away. The microchip number is required to be supplied at time of registration.

If you have a pension concession card or a gold DVA concession card you must provide a copy of the front and back of the card to Council. This can be copied when presented at service centre.

Things to remember when paying:

Eftpos is available.

You may post a cheque or money order with a copy of the registration notice to:

Somerset Regional Council

PO Box 117

Esk QLD 4312

Guide, hearing and assistance dogs

Council offers free registration for guide dogs, hearing dogs and assistance dogs. To be eligible, the dog owner must provide at least one of the following documents:

  • A Handler's Identity Card issued by the Queensland Government and used to identify the handler and the dog.
  • A letter from Guide Dogs Queensland (on letterhead) and a Guide Dogs Queensland issued identification card for the trainer.
  • An official medallion issued to and worn by the dog (this is worn by the dog at all times).

Council does not accept a letter from a GP as proof of the dog being a guide, hearing or assistance dog.

registration form  should be lodged with a copy of the Handler's Identity Card. A registration tag will be issued once the application has been processed. Registration fees are exempt if approved.

Working dogs

Working dogs as defined by the Animal Management (Cats and Dogs) Act 2008 are exempt from registration. Please contact Council on (07) 5424 4000 to discuss eligibility.

Applications must be returned to Council with the appropriate supporting documentation for approval. However, if the application is not approved, the dogs are required to be registered.

Renewals

Animal registration renewal notices are valid for 12 months and expire on 30 June each year. Council offers a discount on the registration if paid by 1 August. If you have changed your address or any other circumstances of your registration, please advise Council on (07) 5424 4000 or by email.

Transferring from another Council

Should you move into the region and you are able to show that your dog has current satisfactory proof of registration in another location, you may be eligible to transfer your registration at no further cost to the end of the current financial year. You will need to complete a registration form and provide microchipping and de-sexing certificate if applicable.

Updating details

Please contact Council on 5424 4000 or via email if your address or any other circumstances has changed, and complete a registration form.

Transfer of deceased animals

If your dog passes away and you decide to get another dog you are eligible to transfer the deceased dog’s registration to your new dog for that current financial year. An application form will need to be completed, and should the dog be de-sexed, a copy of the de-sexing certificate will need to be provided along with the microchip number.

Permits

You may require additional permits or planning approvals if you wish to:

  • operate a pet shop
  • operate a cattery
  • keep a guard dog
  • keep additional cats or dogs
  • keep cats or dogs for breeding or show purposes
  • operate a racing dog kennel.

Please contact Council to verify the permit conditions that may apply to you in these instances.

The self-assessment checklist will help you identify legislative requirements when breeding cats or dogs:

Permits for keeping more than the maximum number of dogs

You may keep a maximum of two dogs on your property if they are registered.

If you would like to keep more than two dogs you must make an application to Council for keeping more than the maximum number of dogs. This application can be processed if your property is more than one hectare (2.47 acres) in size, and is outside the designated area (outside the Urban Footprint of the South East Queensland Regional Plan). You also must be a member of an approved entity

Kennel and cattery approvals

If you want to operate a kennel or cattery within Somerset you require a development approval. Please contact Council’s planning and development department for more information. This requirement is for dogs and cats that are above numbers listed in subordinate Local Law No 2 (Animal Management) 2011, Schedule 1, Column 2.

Buying a dog

When you are buying a dog, it is a good idea to check if the breeder is registered. The dog breeder or pet shop should give provide this information to you and they need to include this on advertisements. You can check the online register to confirm the supply number.

At the time of purchase, it is important you receive the appropriate documentation from the supplier (current owner). This includes:

  • a notice (e.g. a receipt, a confirmation of sale or an invoice) that states:
    • suppliers details
    • supply number (if buying from a registered breeder)
    • microchip number of the dog
  • a change of ownership form, completed and signed by the supplier. 

Dog breeder regulation

The Queensland Government has introduced laws to regulate dog breeding to make it easier to track down breeders who do not protect the welfare of their dogs. All dog breeders need to be registered and have a supply number.

Do I need to register as a dog breeder?

You need to register as a dog breeder if you sell, supply or give away a puppy or dog in Queensland, including:

  • if you are breeding as a hobby
  • if you have an accidental or unplanned litter
  • if you are giving away a puppy or dog
  • animal pounds or shelters that are likely to have pregnant females or abandoned puppies/ dogs in their care
  • if you are from interstate and you are not registered with your state government
  • if you are responsible for a dog that doesn’t have a supply number, even if you did not breed the dog.

When you don’t need to register

Working dogs

There are some exemptions for breeders of working dogs. You don’t need to register if:

  • you are a primary producer or farmer breeding working dogs
  • you are supplying the dogs to other primary producers who will use them as working dogs.

If you want to sell or give away a working dog as a pet, you will need to apply for an exemption number.

A working dog means a dog usually kept:

  • on rural land
  • by an owner who is a primary producer
  • by a person engaged or employed by a primary producer
  • primarily for the purpose of
    • droving, protecting, tending, or working stock
    • being trained in droving, protecting, tending, or working stock.

Pig dogs are not working dogs.

Accredited dog breeder

You won’t need to register with the Queensland Government if you are a dog breeder who is a member of an approved entity. An approved entity is an organisation that accredits a dog breeder, or a local government that has a dog breeder registration scheme, that has been endorsed by the Minister for Agriculture and Primary Industries.

Find out if your organisation or local Council is an approved entity. Your approved entity will issue you with a supply number.

How to register

If you are not registered with an approved entity, you can register as a dog breeder online or over the phone with the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries. Upon registration, you will receive a breeder identification number. There is no fee to register.

You need to renew your registration annually if you want to continue to breed dogs. If there are any changes to your registration details, you need to update these within 7 days.

Selling, giving away and advertising dogs

If you want to sell or give a dog away, or advertise a dog in Queensland, you need to have a supply number. Your supply number is:

Your supply number needs to be included in the dog’s microchip information and on all advertisements.

Pet shops can only sell puppies and dogs from registered breeders, with a supply number. They also need to comply with the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001.

If you sell, give away, supply, or advertise a dog in Queensland without a supply number, you could be issued with a fine.

Complaints about a breeder

Council shares responsibility for managing dog breeder registration compliance with the Queensland Government.

You can make a complaint about an unregistered dog breeder by contacting:

If you have a compliant about animal welfare, contact:

Barking dogs

Council understands the value of enjoying a peaceful neighbourhood and appreciates that resolving noise nuisance complaints can sometimes be confronting or difficult.

Why do dogs bark?

Dogs are social animals and often bark for various reasons. These reasons can include:

  • when they are lonely, bored and frustrated
  • when they are separated from their owner, which can cause dogs to stress
  • a way of seeking attention from its owner
  • out of fear - this can be fear of people, objects or other dogs
  • when there is a threat to their territory or people pass the property
  • playing with your dog often stimulates barking
  • some breeds have a reputation for barking
  • dominant dogs bark until they get what they want.

My neighbour’s dog barks, what can I do?

Talk to your neighbour as they may not be aware that their dog is barking or that their dog's barking is bothering you. If the barking persists after a week or two, speak with your neighbour again to provide feedback.

If your neighbour is unapproachable or does not agree that a problem exists, you should contact Council for further advice or contact the dispute Resolution Centre for a free mediation service to work through the issue.

My dog barks, what can I do ?

It is not Councils’ responsibility to resolve the problem for you. As the dog owner you need to firstly accept that your dog may be causing a problem and then take appropriate action to stop your dog barking excessively.

Assess the problem

The most important step is to work out why your dog is barking. Once you know the symptom, you can find a resolution.

Ongoing barking is often a symptom of another problem and taking time to understand what makes dogs bark - is a key step towards solving this problem, both for the dog involved and your neighbours.

Utilising a counting collar can give you as the dog owner the opportunity to acknowledge and fix the problem or rule out the allegation. Council may be able to assist with the provision of bark count collars.

Control the barking

Behavioural problems can be understood if you learn more about your pet’s behaviour. Barking can be controlled through several small behavioural changes, some as small as walking your dog twice a day to relieve boredom.

Ensure you provide your dog with sufficient food, water and toys to keep them happy. A bored dog barks to attract attention. A more active dog generally barks less.

Seek professional help or talk to Council if necessary. Help is available.

Council's process

Council has a legal obligation to investigate all complaints; however some barking may not constitute a noise nuisance under the law even if it annoys you.

How to lodge a complaint

Council will need the correct address of where the dog is kept, a description of the dog, a detailed list of dates, times and possible causes for the dogs barking and how the barking is affecting you. This information will assist us to carry out a fair and impartial investigation and may also help the animals’ owner understand and resolve any problems that may be contributing to excessive barking.

What happens to my complaint?

Council must be satisfied that the dog/s is in fact creating a nuisance by barking. If Council is unable to determine that a nuisance exists, no further action can be taken.

In the first instance Council will contact the dogs’ owner and let them know that a complaint has been received. We will also provide the owner with information on why dogs bark excessively and suggest ways in which this can possibly be resolved.

Give your neighbour time - understand that the dog owner needs time to fix the problem. There are no quick fixes to a barking problem. If however the excessive barking problem does not abate, Council needs to be advised so it can investigate the matter further.

Councils’ investigation process forms part of a legal process and as such it is necessary to obtain sufficient information/evidence to confirm the existence of a nuisance. It is also necessary that Council satisfies the requirements of relevant legislation and provides reasonable time and notice to the owner of the offending dog; therefore these matters are unlikely to be resolved quickly.

In the event that legal action is taken, all parties including the complainant and other witnesses may be asked to attend court to provide evidence.

This information is also available as a barking dogs fact sheet (DOCX, 187.45 KB).

Information for the owner

If you are aware that your dog is barking and may be causing a nuisance, steps should be taken to minimise this barking. Try discussing this issue directly with a neighbor to ascertain if the animal is causing concern.

For more information please see the attached flyer Barking dogs a dog owners view.

Noise standards are prescribed in the Subordinate Local Law No. 2 (Animal Management) 2011 Schedule 4, Section B (1).

Council has a legal obligation to investigate complaints of animal noise nuisance under its local law and if it is determined that you are in breach of the law enforcement action may be taken.

For more information, contact Council or visit http://kb.rspca.org.au/My-dog-is-barking-excessively-what-can-I-do_375.html.

Information for the neighbour

If your neighbour has a dog that is causing a nuisance by barking excessively you may wish to approach the neighbour to discuss the issue. The owner may be unaware that their dog is barking. Alternatively, you can print a Barking Dog Notification to Neighbours form and give the completed form to your neighbour.

For more information please refer to the attached flyer Barking dogs a neighbours view.

Should the matter persist you may wish to lodge a complaint with Council.

Cat and dog enclosures

Why provide an enclosure on my property?

Enclosures protect your animals from the dangers of roaming and stop them from becoming a nuisance in your neighbourhood.

Furthermore, animals that are not safely contained on private property can:

  • become a traffic hazard for motorists
  • risk being injured or injuring persons or other animals
  • display territorial aggression
  • be a danger to wildlife
  • be impounded for their safety and the safety of the community
  • have an increased risk of contracting and spreading diseases such as Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) or Canine Parvovirus (Parvo).

Minimum standards and tips

In order to comply with Councils’ local laws on enclosures, consideration should be given to whether:

  • dogs/cats are effectively contained within an adequate enclosure
  • dog/cat runs are constructed of relevant dog or cat proof mesh fencing
  • there are any gaps in the enclosure that require your attention
  • you have installed self-closing/self-latching gates
  • your dog/cat can enter your house/garage from the enclosure? If so, what steps are in place to ensure the dog/cat cannot enter public land or other private property through an open door?

A person who keeps an animal must maintain a proper enclosure in accordance with Councils’ local laws. Generally, this means that the enclosure must stop them from going over, under or through your fence.

It is important to regularly check your enclosure to ensure it continues to be capable of containing your cat/dog.

Enclosures should be constructed and maintained in a way that meet the needs of your animal to ensure they are comfortable, safe and cared for with the inclusion of adequate shade and water.

Community rights

All members of our community have the right to live peacefully without interference from other peoples pets.

Unaccompanied animals roaming the streets are at risk and all residents have a right and responsibility to have them rescued and either taken to a refuge or returned to their owners.

All persons have the right to a clear access to your front door for a lawful purpose.

If you have a dog that may act in a way that causes fear or apprehension to a person, you may wish to display a “do not enter” sign or equivalent.

Animals that are free to roam may cause issues in the neighbourhood and be a danger to themselves.

You must ensure your animal does not wander form your property and if your animal is in a public place the animal must be under the effective control of a person capable of controlling it.

You also have a requirement to provide a proper enclosure that meets the requirements listed in Schedule 8 of Subordinate Local Law No. 2 (Animal Management) 2011.

Dog off leash areas

Off leash areas are provided by Council to allow pet owners to responsibly socialise their pets. Off leash areas are not only beneficial for dogs; they also provide an area for owners to build strong community relationships with other dog owners.

Etiquette

Local Council’s provide off leash areas that can be enjoyed by all animal owners. Like any area of open space it is important that all users follow basic etiquette to ensure the enjoyment of all users:

  • ensure your dog is socialised
  • ensure you are able to control your dog with effective voice commands
  • do not take a female on heat to an off leash area
  • do not take puppies to an off leash area unless they have attended basic training and are fully vaccinated
  • remove any faeces left by your dog
  • if any dog/s show signs of aggressive or anti-social behaviour the dogs handler must remove their dog immediately from the area
  • please do not crowd the entranceways, keep moving around the park
  • please be considerate of all other park users, as well as neighbouring properties and their pets.

Children in off leash areas

Considering the main purpose of an off leash area is to provide owners with a safe and legal area to exercise their pets, the inclusion of children in these areas should be considered.

Large excited dogs chasing other dogs and toys may accidentally knock over a child, who may in the course of events, be accidentally injured.

Furthermore, if a spat or minor disagreement occurs between two dogs, an adult is better equipped to deal with this behaviour without exasperating the situation.

Parents and guardians may also need to consider the possible health risks in the area due to faecal contamination.

Community rights

Off leash areas, although provided for the use and enjoyment of dog owners, are not exclusively provided for the sole use of dog owners.

Other community members may wish to visit off leash areas for the social connections that such areas provide.

Owner’s legal obligations

If your dog causes any injuries or damage, you may be held liable for these actions and Council may commence enforcement and/or the owner of the injured animal may commence civil action.

Being in an off leash area does not negate the owners or keepers responsibility to ensure the dog is under effective control (which includes voice commands).

Dog off-leash areas

Within the Somerset region there are three dog off-leash facilities:

Restricted, dangerous and menacing dogs

Some dogs can be a serious risk to public safety and may only be kept under strict conditions.

Restricted dogs are identified by breed whereas Council follows criteria set in the Animal Management (Cats and Dogs) Act 2008 on deciding if a dog should be declared dangerous or menacing.

Restricted, dangerous and menacing dogs are considered regulated dogs under the Animal Management (Cats and Dogs) Act 2008. Owners of regulated dogs are subject to stricter conditions to ensure public safety and also need to apply for a yearly permit to keep the animal.

What is a restricted dog?

Some breeds are defined as restricted and are therefore prohibited from importation in Australia in accordance with the Customs Act 1901.

The dogs prohibited from importation include:

  • Fila Brasileiro
  • Dogo Argentino
  • Japanese Tosa
  • American Pit Bull Terrier
  • Pit Bull Terrier
  • Perro de Presa Canario
  • Canario.

Dogs of a restricted breed are referred to as regulated dogs under the Animal Management (Cats and Dogs) Act 2008. Owners of regulated dogs must hold a valid permit and comply with strict conditions to keep their dog. This is to ensure safety of neighbours and the community.

Please contact Council for further information regarding the strict conditions that may apply to you.

What is a dangerous dog?

A dog may be declared dangerous in accordance with the Animal Management (Cats and Dogs) Act 2008 only if the dog has:

  • has seriously attacked or acted in a way that caused fear to a person or another animal
  • may, in the opinion of an authorised person, having regard to the way the dog has behaved towards a person or another animal, seriously attack or act in a way that causes fear to the person or animal.

What is a menacing dog?

A dog may be declared menacing in accordance with the Animal Management (Cats and Dogs) Act 2008 only if the dog has:

  • has attacked or acted in a way that caused fear to a person or another animal
  • may, in the opinion of an authorised person, having regard to the way the dog has behaved towards a person or another animal, seriously attack or act in a way that causes fear to the person or animal.

Council applies a surcharge for restricted, dangerous and menacing dogs, please refer to Council’s fees and charges.

Conditions for keeping regulated dogs

Owners of regulated dogs (restricted, dangerous and menacing) are subject to additional conditions to ensure public safety. The conditions are set in the Animal Management (Cats and Dogs) Act 2008 and enforced by Council. Failing to comply with these conditions may result in enforcement action being taken against you.

The conditions include:

  • dogs must be microchipped
  • dogs must wear a distinctive collar and meet specific requirements:
    • yellow and red striped with a yellow identification tag
    • each stripe must be 25 millimetres wide and set diagonal to the rim of the collar at an angle of 45 degrees
    • at least one of the colours must be sufficiently reflective to be visible in low light
    • be made of durable materials
    • be able to be securely fastened to the dog
  • dogs must wear a specific approved identification tag at all times
  • dogs must be kept in a prescribed enclosure
  • properties must display an approved prescribed sign
  • dogs must be muzzled in public (dangerous and restricted) and be under effective control
  • dangerous and restricted dogs must be desexed
  • specific fencing requirements are imposed and are determined on the weight and height of the dog
  • owners of a regulated dog must hold/apply for a permit to keep the animal
  • owners must pay a yearly registration and permit fee.

Registration fees for regulated animals are higher than those of normal pets. The higher registration fee covers the costs incurred by Council to ensure conditions of the declaration are met.

Enclosure requirements for regulated dogs

A dog that was declared dangerous by a Council under a local law before 1 July 2009 must continue to be kept in an enclosure which meets the requirements of the local law until the dog dies or is moved to a new residence.

The following enclosure requirements apply to all other regulated dogs or for a dog declared as dangerous under a local law before 1 July 2009 that is moved to another residence.

General enclosure requirements

The dog must, unless there is a reasonable excuse, be usually kept in the enclosure. The enclosure must:

  • be childproof
  • stop the dog from leaving the enclosure.

The enclosure and the area enclosed must also comply with the specific requirements outlined in the Animal Management (Cats and Dogs) Act 2008.

Public access to the front of the a house

The enclosure must not be built or situated in a way that requires a member of the public seeking access to the front entrance of a dwelling to go into the enclosed area.

Minimum enclosed area

The area enclosed must be at least 10 square metres.  The enclosed area must not include any area that is:

  • a swimming pool or area surrounding a swimming pool
  • all or part of a building usually used for residential purposes.

Minimum height

The walls of the enclosure must be:

  • at least 1 m high before ground level (if the dog is 8 kg or less)
  • at least 1.8 m high above ground level (if the dog is more than 8 kg).

The weight of the dog is based on its weight at the time it was declared. There may be some leeway in this determination – enquiries should be directed to Council as they are responsible for ensuring compliance with the legislation.

Standard for enclosure materials

The enclosure must consist of firm and strong materials.

Enclosure walls

The exterior of the walls of the enclosure must be designed to prevent a child from climbing into the enclosure. The walls may include a perimeter fence for the relevant place or an exterior wall of a structure if it complies with the other enclosure requirements listed here.

Weatherproof area required

The enclosure must include a weatherproof area appropriate for a dog.

Gate requirements

The enclosure must include a gate and must not have a driveway gate or other vehicle entry gate.

The enclosure gate must:

  • be childproof, self-closing and self-latching
  • comply with the other enclosure requirements.

The enclosure may have another gate that is not self-closing and self-latching if it:

  • is not a vehicle gate
  • complies with the requirements for ‘enclosure walls’ listed above
  • is kept securely locked whenever it is not in immediate use.