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Dog owner responsibilities

Haepapa aa te kaiwhiwhi

As good dog owners, it is your responsibility to provide the love, care and attention necessary to make sure our pets are happy, safe and healthy. It also means knowing our responsibilities regarding ownership of our pets and local law requirements. This also means being considerate of others who share our public places who aren’t pet owners.

What makes a responsible dog owner? 

If you own a dog or are intending to get one, you should make yourself familiar with our dog policy and bylaw requirements. You will need to:

  • make sure your dog is registered on or before the age of three months. Yearly registration renewal is required on or before 20 July each year.
  • make sure your dog wears a collar with a current registration tag attached to it
  • microchip your dog (see microchipping and permits for more info)
  • notify the Council if your contact details change, or if your dog is desexed
  • notify the Council within 14 days if you move address or your dog changes ownership. If you move to or from another area you need to inform both councils
  • keep your dog under control at all times
  • ensure your dog receives proper care and attention and that you provide it with adequate food, water, shelter and exercise
  • take all responsible steps to ensure that the dog doesn't cause a nuisance to any other person (whether by persistent and loud barking, howling, or by any other means)
  • take all reasonable steps to ensure their dog does not injure, endanger, intimidate, or otherwise cause distress to any person, or injure, endanger, or cause distress to any stock, poultry, domestic animal, or protected wildlife - see dog attacks and aggression for more info including what dogs are classified as menacing by breed.
  • keep your dog confined to your property so that it can't get out - or is under the direct control of a person
  • ensure your dog is leashed when it's in a public place - unless it is being exercised off leash in approved dog exercise areas (and still under your direct control)
  • pick up your dog's faeces and dispose of them responsibly, when outside of your own property.
  • contain your dog if it has a contagious disease
  • provide appropriate confinement for bitches ‘in season’.

If you wish to keep more than two dogs on your property (on properties zoned other than rural), you will also need to make application to the Council before you get the extra dog(s) and pay the appropriate permit application fee. You will also need to comply with the permit requirements at all times. 

Dog droppings

Dog owners must collect and dispose of their dog’s droppings responsibly and to always carry an appropriate container such as a plastic bag or pooper scooper.

Dog droppings carry many diseases, so please pick up after your dog and keep our streets, parks and waterways clean.

Barking dogs 

Excessive barking can be annoying for neighbours and the community. Dogs often bark because they are bored, lonely or frustrated due to lack of exercise and mental stimulation.

  • Provide your dog with daily exercise, if this is not possible you could ask your neighbour, friends or family member to take your dog out for a walk during the day, if you think this may help.
  • Try leaving a radio playing while you're gone - the dog is more likely to sleep while you're away (and that's doubly good for a destructive pet).
  • House the dog in a position where he/she cannot see things to bark at it.
  • Also try leaving an unwashed item of old clothing as bedding for the dog - the familiar smell is reported to have a calming effect in many cases.
  • Give your dog bones, toys, balls etc. to keep your dog amused during the day
  • Spend more time with your dog.
  • Never hit your dog, this causes mistrust and will not stop the barking.
  • Consider working with a trainer to help you teach your dog to stop barking on command, yelling at your dog has no effect.
  • Take your dog to a doggy daycare facility while you're at work - they provide plenty of stimulation and exercise for your pet and your dog is socialised with other dogs - so it's a friendlier, safer dog when out and about elsewhere with you and in the home.

If all else fails seek advice from a professional such as a dog trainer, local obedience club, animal control officer or your local vet.Your neighbours can complain if your dog is often noisy or disturbs the peace unreasonably. Under nuisance laws, we can investigate complaints about noise from domestic animals in the community. If your dog constantly barks you may be fined or taken to court where you could be ordered to take action to stop your dog barking.

Infringement fines 

Impounding - Dog Control Act 1996, section 68 ($)

First impounding 80.00
Second impounding 130.00
Third or subsequent impounding 160.00
Seizure – additional to
impounding fee
Sustenance 22.00


Infringement offences - Dog Control Act 1996, section 66

(GST is not applicable to these fees)

Wilful obstruction of a dog
control officer or ranger


Infringement offences - Dog Control Act 1996, section 66

(GST is not applicable to these fees)

Failure or refusal to supply
information or wilfully providing false particulars

Infringement offences - Dog Control Act 1996, section 66

(GST is not applicable to these fees)

Failure to supply information or
wilfully providing false particulars about a dog
Failure to comply with any bylaw
authorised by section 20 of the Dog Control Act
Failure to undertake dog owner
education programme or dog obedience course (or both)
Failure to comply with obligations of
probationary owner
Failure to comply with effects of
Failure to comply with effects of
classification of dog as dangerous dog
Fraudulent sale or transfer of
dangerous dog
Failure to comply with effects of
classification of dog as menacing
Failure to advise person of muzzle
and leashing requirements
Failure to implant microchip
transponder in dog
False statement relating to dog
False notifying death of dog 750.00
Failure to register dog 300.00

Infringement offences - Dog Control Act 1996, section 66

(GST is not applicable to these fees)

Fraudulent procurement or
attempt to procure replacement dog registration label or disc
Failure to advise change of dog
Failure to advise change of
Removal, swapping or
counterfeiting of registration label or disc
Failure to keep dog controlled
or confined
Failure to keep dog under
Failure to provide proper care
and attention to supply proper and sufficient food, water and shelter and to provide adequate exercise
Failure to carry a leash in
Failure to comply with barking
dog abatement notice
Allowing dog known to be
dangerous to be at large unmuzzled or unleashed
Failure to advise of muzzle and
leasing requirements
Releasing dog from custody 750.00

Apply for a responsible dog owner license

Apply for responsible dog owner status by 30 April each year to lower your annual fees for the dog registration year commencing 1 July.

Apply for responsible dog owner license