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Dog Responsibilities

Be a Responsible Dog Owner

Dogs on the beachDogs are great companions and lifelong friends. Dog ownership is extremely rewarding and has also been associated with healthy living and overall life enjoyment. To ensure you can continue to enjoy your furry companions for a long time please see below information on responsible dog ownership.

Register Your Dog

It’s never too early to register your dog and if you have a puppy, you may be entitled to a discount.  All dogs over the age of 3 months are required to be registered and then re-registered each year by the 31 August.

If you are moving into the Council area dogs are required to be registered two weeks after moving in.

The registered owner must be over the age of 16.

Notification is required to be given to Council if the following occurs;

  • the dog is moved to different premises;
  • the dog dies, or is missing for more than 72 hours;
  • ownership of the dog is transferred to another person.

Dog registration renewal reminders are sent yearly in July, if you do not receive your renewal by mid July please contact the Council.

For dog registration payments after the 31 August a $15 late payment fee applies. Further expiations may also be issued for having an unregistered dog.

Application For Registration of A Dog (485 kb)

Dog Registration - Transfer of Ownership (140 kb)

Dog Renewal Payments

Council payments can be made in person at:

The Civic Centre, Woodville: 9.30am - 4.45pm (adjacent to the Civic Library).

Libraries with Customer Service Facilities (pay by cheque or EFTPOS only):

  • Findon Library: Monday - Friday, 9.30am - 4.45pm
  • Henley Beach Library: Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 9.30am - 4.45pm and Wednesday 1pm - 4.45pm
  • Hindmarsh Library: Monday - Friday, 9.30am - 4.45pm
  • West Lakes Library: Monday - Friday, 9.30am - 4.45pm

Hours of operation are subject to change without notice.

What is the Law around Dog Ownership?

Dogs must be registered when they reach three months of age, and re-registered by 31 August each year.

To ensure that people and their animals can use public land safely, the Dog and Cat Management Act 1995 sets out a number of offences for which the owner and/or person responsible for the control of the dog can be expiated. Multiple fines will apply where more than one offence has occurred.

Please note if a dog commits an offence when being walked the person who was in control of the dog at the time is responsible for the offence committed and any expiations or actions which may result.

Dog and Cat Management Act, 1995

Where does my dog need to be on a leash?

On the Foreshore: During the daylight savings period dogs must be held on a leash not exceeding 2 m in length between 10am and 8pm. Outside of these times dogs are required to be under effective control at all times.
Outside daylight savings period, or during the winter months (normally end March through to beginning October), dogs on the beach can be off leash but must be under effective control at all times.

Effective control by command means the dog must be in close proximity to the person and the person is able to see the dog at all times.

Effective control is NOT

  • Allowing your dog to run up to or jump onto other people
  • Allowing your dog to cause property damage by urinating on other people’s property such as on towels at the beach
  • The dog walking behind you and not having constant visual of your dog

If you do not have voice control of your dog please keep them on a lead

In a public place: Please remember that under the provisions of the Dog and Cat Management Act 1995, dogs in public places (which includes roads, footpaths, paths and all public places unless otherwise stipulated) or in a private place without the consent of the occupier, dogs need to be under effective control by means of a physical restraint. Therefore the dog needs to be on a chain, cord or leash that does not exceed 2 metres in length.

Dogs must be kept under effective control at all times regardless of whether the dog is being exercised in a dog on leash or dog off leash area.

Effective Control - Under the provisions of the Dog and Cat Management Act 1995 there are two definitions of effective control depending on whether there is a requirement to have the dog on a lead or if off lead is allowable;

  • The dog is on a chain, cord or leash that does not exceed 2 metres in length restraining the dog; or
  • By command, the dog being in close proximity to the person and the person being able to see the dog at all times.

Leash No Leash Flowchart

Where can I exercise my dog off lead?

Please see a map below outlining the safe areas where dogs can be exercised off lead and under effective control.

Doggy guide to CCS 

Let’s talk about Poo!

Please remember it is your responsibility to pick up after your dog if it defecates on any public area.

It is also a requirement to ensure you carry a dog waste bag with you at all times when walking your dog.

How many dogs can be kept on my property?

As per our by-law, the limit on the number of dogs kept will be -

  • In a small premises shall be one dog
  • In premises other than a small premises, where a dog can be effectively contained, the limit shall be two dogs

‘Small premises’ means a premises comprising any self-contained dwelling where the property, or part thereof (ie. Flat, home unit etc), contains a secured unobstructed yard area of less than 100 square metres.

A permit process applies to keep more than the allowable number of dogs (fees apply).

The permit only applies to the dogs approved by Council in the permit application. New dogs are not covered by the permit.

Complaints against dogs covered by the permit will be investigated and the permit may be revoked.

Keep Excess Dogs Permit (143 kb)

Should I have my dog desexed?

Desex DogsWe encourage owners to have their dogs desexed and offer a reduction in the registration fee for desexed dogs.

Desexing reduces the desire for dogs to roam, reducing the risk of your dog escaping and becoming lost.
Scientific research has shown that desexing your dog reduces territorial and aggressive behaviour, whilst not changing your dogs personality. It settles them down and makes for a more contented dog.

Should I have my dog microchipped?

Microchip DogWe encourage owners to have their dogs microchipped and offer a reduction in the registration fee for microchipped dogs.

Microchipped dogs carry with them a permanent identification, and can be reunited with their owners much sooner.

Note: It is the dog owner's responsibility to ensure their details are kept up to date in the microchipping database.

To receive a discount for dog registration the microchipping certificate must be in the registered owners name.

Note: Microchipped dogs are still required to wear a registration disc.

I'm no longer able to keep a dog?

If the dog owner can no longer look after their pet, the pet should be taken to the Animal Welfare League.

Only the registered owner may relinquish a pet. Please be aware that ownership of the pet transfers to the Animal Welfare League and it is therefore at their discretion whether it is re-homed or humanely put to sleep. This decision is made after a health examination and temperament assessment of the pet.

Are there special rules for guard dogs?

The Dog and Cat Management Board can require the owners of guard dog, patrol dogs and attack trained dogs to:

  1. Microchip the dog;
  2. keep the dog confined on private property;
  3. keep a distinctive collar on the dog;
  4. restrain the dog using a leash in public;
  5. place warning signs with a 24 hour contact phone number at all entrances to the property;


  • Attack trained dog: a dog trained, or undergoing training, to attack a person on command;
  • Guard dog: a dog that is kept on a premises primarily for the purpose of guarding or protecting a person or property at those premises;
  • Patrol dog: a dog that, under the control of a person, patrols premises for the purpose of guarding or protecting a person or property at those premises.

How do I report a dog attack?

We encourage people to report dog attacks to humans or pets. 

Statistical data allows us to recognise issues and put strategies in place to address them. 

How to report an attack:
Phone 8408 1111 to speak to a member of our Community Safety Team.

A thorough investigation of the incident will be carried out and a decision made accordingly depending on the outcome of the investigation.

What can be done about a barking dog?

Dogs bark for a variety of reasons including separation anxiety, boredom, changes to lifestyle and health problems.

If you are a neighbour experiencing problems with a barking dog there are a few this you can undertake in working towards a solution.

1. Contact the dog owner

In most cases the dog owner is unaware their dog is barking and the solutions may simply be a visit to your neighbour to inform them of the situation. A face to face visit is usually most effective yet if you are uncomfortable you can simply leave a note in your neighbours letterbox making them aware of the situation.

The Council has created the attached note you can utilise to advise your neighbour of the problem:

Barking dog example letter Barking%20dog%20example%20letter (23 kb) 

2. Involving the Council

Contact the Council on 8408 1111 to discuss your concerns. The formal process involves the Council sending you an information kit with a diary for recording details of the barking behaviour for 14 days.

Once your completed diary is supplied to the Council, one of the Animal Management Officers then assess the dog's behaviour and visit the dog owner. Most owners are willing to work with the council to find ways to stop their dog from barking so much.

If the dog owner fails to decrease the noise nuisance after the initial visit from the Council officer then a full investigation will be conducted. This will include talking to other surrounding neighbours that may also be affected by the dog's behaviour.

If the problem persists, an order may be served on the owner, legally requiring them to take all reasonable steps to reduce the noise.

Kids and dogs – can we leave them alone together?

Growing up with a dog can be a wonderful life experience. Watching your kids and dog play and learn together is heartwarming. They can share a special bond with memories to last a lifetime. Despite this bond, leaving them alone unsupervised together, even for just a minute, is not worth the risk. The potential of miscommunications and misunderstandings between kids and dogs are high. When left alone, behaviours can change quickly. Supervision is not just about watching child and dog, it is also about intervening quickly and effectively when needed.

Can you identify signs of fear or stress in your dog? Do you know what to do if you see them? How do you tell if your dog or child is becoming over the top, hyper-excitable, insecure or overwhelmed?

Teach your dog and your child how to share their environment appropriately and safely around each other and recognise when either your dog or child may need a break from the other. This includes helping your child to respect your dog’s right to say no if they want to take themselves to bed or try to get away.

Some of the best ways for kids and dogs to interact are through training and games. Kids can:

  • Set up treasure hunts (with dog food or toys) around the house or the backyard (make sure they remember where they left everything!)
  • Train tricks or easy behaviours like ‘sit’, ‘drop’ or ‘hand targetting’
  • Create enrichment toys with food inside out of cardboard, rinsed bottles or the like
  • Throwing toys around the backyard (lots of toys!)
  • Going for walks with mum or dad
  • Exploring new areas together

For more infomartion on dog body language please see our Quiz here:

Dog Speak Quiz

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