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Microchipping and registration

Microchipping and registration

Microchipping, registering and de-sexing cats and dogs are fundamental to being a responsible pet owner.

Read more about de-sexing here.

 

Microchipping

It’s important to realise that having your dog or cat microchipped does not mean the pet is lifetime registered. However, to register your pet it must first be microchipped by a vet or authorised identifier.

In NSW all cats and dogs, other than exempt cats and dogs, must be microchipped by 12 weeks of age or before being sold or given away, whichever happens first.

Failure to have your dog or cat microchipped could result in a fixed penalty notice of $180 or a court may award a maximum penalty of up to $880. If your dog is a restricted or declared dangerous dog you may be issued with a fixed penalty notice of $1,320, or a court may apply the maximum penalty of $5,500.

Microchips are the size of a grain of rice and are implanted under your pet’s skin.

Each microchip has a unique number that can be read with a scanner, like a barcode at a supermarket.  No personal information is stored on the microchip, only the unique identification number. By using the microchip number, prospective pet owners can use the search function on the NSW Pet Registry (www.petregistry.nsw.gov.au) to find out the animal’s breed, age, gender and whether or not the animal is de-sexed.

 

 

Registration

Registering your pet is now easier than ever

  • Online: Registrations can be completed online via the NSW Pet Registry  or Service NSW using your MyServiceNSW account.
  • Over the counter: You can also register your pet in person at your local council or any Service NSW Centre.

 

Why register your pet?

Registering your pet is also the law - all cats and dogs, other than exempt cats and dogs, must be registered by six months of age. If your pet is registered and you create an online profile on the NSW Pet Registry your pet can be safely returned if it gets lost.

The registration fee is a once-only payment, which covers the cat or dog for its lifetime in NSW, regardless of any changes in ownership.

Discounts apply for de-sexed cats and dogs, eligible pensioners and cats and dogs bought from certain rehoming organisations, including council pounds and shelters.

If you fail to register your cat or dog when you are required to you may be issued with a fixed penalty notice of $330, or a court may award a maximum penalty of up to $5,500 or up to $6,500 if your dog is a restricted dog or a declared dangerous or menacing dog.

 

Your pet’s registration fee at work

Money collected goes straight back to the community by funding companion animal services including:

  • Council pounds/shelters
  • Ranger services
  • Dog recreation areas
  • Education and awareness activities
  • Responsible pet ownership initiatives. 

 

Highlights of the Companion Animals and Other Legislation Amendment Act

Managing dangerous dogs

  • A key feature of the Act is changes to better protect the community from dangerous dogs and make it easier for council rangers and enforcement agencies to take action against problem pets and irresponsible pet owners.
  • As a further disincentive to owning problem dogs and encourage dog owners to manage their behaviour, the Act will introduce $195 annual permits for dogs that are of a restricted breed or declared to be dangerous. 
  • Changes will also allow authorities to define what a ‘serious injury’ is for the purposes of declaring a dog as menacing and imposing control requirements on them. This will also help council officers manage problem dogs and reduce attacks.

 

Annual permits for cats that are not de-sexed

  • De-sexing improves the health and welfare of pets, reducing their risk of disease and health concerns in later life. It also significantly reduces the risk of accidental litters, reducing the burden of unwanted kittens on pounds and shelters.  Importantly, cats that are not de-sexed are also producing strays, causing nuisance and attacking native birds and other wildlife.
  • To encourage pet owners to de-sex their pets early, we have created incentives by offering significantly cheaper lifetime registration fees for de-sexed pets. Unfortunately, there are still a large number of cats that are not de-sexed and a high number of unwanted litters of kittens a being surrendered to pounds and shelters.
  • To reduce this problem, the Act introduces annual permits for cats that are not de-sexed by four months of age, in addition to the current lifetime registration fees.
  • The lifetime registration fee for all cats will also be reduced by $10 from 2019.  This will create a stronger incentive to register and de-sex cats and also encourage the adoption of cats from pounds and shelters.

 

Better data capture and traceability of cats and dogs

  • In addition, the Act will enable OLG to deliver a new and improved Companion Animals Register. This register is a Statewide database of information about cats and dogs and their owners.
  • The new register builds on the success of the NSW Pet Registry and will collect better information about pets and their owners, allowing animals to be tracked throughout their lives.
  • These changes will deliver on the Government’s commitment to improve traceability and transparency of breeding practices.
  • The new registry will be delivered in stages, with the key functions needed to support this Act to be released from later this year.

 

The new registry will

  • Enable puppies and kittens to be traced from birth through ownership, including relevant information about breeders.
  • Promote traceability and the responsible sale of dogs and cats particularly in the growing area of lone sales.
  • Allow prospective pet buyers to check for details about a cat or dog including the animal’s breed, sex, age, whether it is de-sexed and registered and whether a permit is in place. Details that correspond to the breeder identification number may also be available such as the business name of the owner and the breed, sex and age of all the companion animals that are recorded as having been bred by that owner. 
  • Feature improved design and simpler process to make it easier for pet owners to register their pets and to keep records updated, improving chances of having lost animals reunited with their owners.
  • Allow veterinary practices to access information to help return lost pets to their owners.

 

At a glance - proposed changes in the Companion Animals and Other Legislation Amendment Act will enable:

  • A new Companion Animals Register with improved data about cats and dogs and better functionality to make it easier for pet owners to register their pets, allow enforcement agencies to trace puppies and kittens throughout their life, enforce animal welfare standards, and strengthen efforts to reunite lost pets with their owners.
  • Better information to be captured about dog and cat breeders and their animals’ litters to councils and animal welfare enforcement agencies.
  • A new requirement for people selling dogs and cats to display an identifying number in advertisements. The public can search these numbers for free to verify key details about cats and dogs and ensure breeders are subject to the scrutiny of authorities.
  • The introduction of $195 annual permits for dogs of a restricted breed or declared to be dangerous as a disincentive to owning these animals. 
  • Support improved community safety by defining ‘serious injury’ for the purposes of declaring a dog as menacing, and enabling a regulation to say what ‘reasonable precautions’ an owner needs to take to prevent the animal from escaping their property.
  • Increased penalties for failing to allow people with a disability to take assistance animals into a public place, with fines nearly doubling from $880 to $1650.
  • Provide more options for courts to make orders banning a person who has been convicted of animal cruelty from exercising control over other animals.
  • Authorising vets to tattoo the ears of de-sexed female cats and dogs under anaesthetic at the time of de-sexing with the consent of the animal’s owner. This avoids trauma to animals and cost that occurs with unnecessary surgery when it is difficult to tell if an animal is already de-sexed.
  • Introduce annual permits of $80 for owners of female cats not de-sexed by four months of age.
  • Reduce the one-off lifetime registration fee for cats by $10 to encourage higher registration rates and adoption of cats from pounds and shelters.
  • A new penalty for pet owners who repeatedly fail to register their cat or dog. Registration fees fund a range of services and facilities such as council rangers, pounds and shelters, and recreational areas for dogs, as well as the online NSW Pet Registry.
  • Increases to penalty notice amounts commence from 31 August 2018:

 

Act reference

Summary of offence

Previous amount

New amount

Companion Animals Act 1998

s.8(3)

Owner fails to identify a cat or dog from 12 weeks of age and before sale (whichever is earlier).*

$165

$180

s.8(4)

A person who sells a cat or dog that is not identified from 12 weeks of age/before sale (whichever is earlier).*

$165

$180

s.9(1)

Owner fails to register an animal by the age required.*

$275

$330

s.10

Owner fails to register an animal when required to under the regulations.*

$275

$305

s.10B(2)

Owner fails to register an animal after given a council notice that requires it to be registered.*

$275

$305

s.11(1) [(a), (b),(c) or (d1)]

Owner fails to notify change of event:*

  • registration information has changed in the last 14 days
  • court order that a dog is or is not menacing or dangerous in last 7 days
  • pet died in the last 28 days,
  • pet reported missing but has been found in the last 72 hours.

$165

$180

s.12(2)

Owner fails to ensure a dog is wearing a collar and tag as required.*

$165

$180

s.12A(1)

Owner fails to take all reasonable precautions to prevent the dog from escaping from the property on which it is being kept.

N/A – no increase

$220

s.13(2)

Owner or person in charge of dog in a public place does not ensure it is under effective control by means of an adequate chain, cord or leash attached to the dog and held by or secured to the person. *

$220

$330

s.15(2)

Owner or person in charge of dog that is required to be muzzled is not muzzled.

$165

$180

s.16(1)

Owner or person in charge of dog rushes at, attacks, bites, harasses or chases a person or animal whether or not injury is caused etc.*

$550

$1320

s.29(3)

Owner of cat fails to ensure it has an acceptable form of identification.

$110

$180

s.30(2)

Owner or person in charge of a cat fails to ensure it is not in a public place where it is prohibited from being under the legislation.

$110

$180

s.32A(5)

Owner fails to comply with a nuisance dog order.

N/A – New

$275

s.51(2)

Owner of a dog that is menacing or dangerous fails to comply with a control requirement.

$1320

$1760

s.52A(1)

A person who sells or advertises a confirmed or proposed dangerous or menacing dog.

$1320

$1760

s.52B(1)

A person who accepts ownership of a confirmed or proposed dangerous or menacing dog.

$1320

$1760

s.56(2)

Owner of a confirmed or proposed restricted dog fails to comply with a control requirement.

$1320

$1760

s.57A(1)

A person who sells, or advertises the sale of, a restricted dog or proposed restricted dog.

$1320

$1760

s.57B(1)

A person who accepts ownership of a confirmed or proposed restricted dog.

$1320

$1760

s.57C

A person who causes or permits a confirmed or proposed restricted dog to breed with any other dog, or, who advertises that such a dog is available for breeding.

$1320

$1760

s.58B(1)

Owner of a dog, where notice is given under section 58A to the owner, fails to ensure that the dog is under effective control and muzzled at all times when it is away from the property where it is ordinarily kept or register the dog within 7 days after receiving the notice.

N/A – no increase

$1320

s.60(1)

An occupier or person in charge or control of a building or place open to or used by the public or a person in charge or control of any public transport, without reasonable cause, refuses to permit a person with an assistance animal if the person has a disability and is using the animal bona fide to assist him or her.

$165

$330

s.61(1)

An occupier or person in charge or control of a building or place open to or used by the public or a person in charge or control of any public transport, imposes a charge on a person with an assistance animal contrary to the section.

$165

$330

s.62(1)

A person who seizes an animal under the authority of the Act but does not deliver it to either the owner, a council pound or approved premises as soon as possible.

$550

$660

s.69G(2)

A person who fails to comply with a requirement to state their name and residential address or provides false information.

$275

$330

s.76(1)

A person must not remove, alter or otherwise interfere with any identification marking on, or microchip implant in an animal.

$165

$330

*This applies to all cats and to dogs other than dogs that are restricted, dangerous or menacing (higher penalty notice amount applies, but these are not changing).

 

Regulation reference – new

Regulation reference – previous

Summary of offence

Previous penalty notice amount

New penalty notice amount

Companion Animals Regulation 2018

cl.6(1)

cl.6(1)

A person implants microchips but is not an authorised identifier, vet or acting under a vet’s supervision.

$275

$330

cl.6(2)

cl.6(2)

A person advertises or otherwise represents that he or she is an authorised identifier or vet but is not.

$165

$180

cl.34(3)

cl.27(3)

The owner of a dog is guilty of an offence if their dog wears a distinctive collar, as described under cl.34(1), unless the dog is a dangerous, menacing or restricted dog.

N/A – no increase

$220

cl.39(1)

cl.31(1)

A person selling or transferring an animal does not notify the change of ownership.

$165

$180

*This applies to all cats and to dogs other than dogs that are restricted, dangerous or menacing (higher penalty notice amount applies, but these are not changing).

 

For more information about the Companion Animals and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2018, visit

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