Dog Legislation & Policy


Amendments to the Dog Control Act 1996 now require certain dogs to be implanted with a functioning microchip transponder. The intent of the legislation is to provide dogs with a unique number to assist in the tracking of dogs classified as dangerous and to protect the interests of society as a whole.

A microchip is a Radio Frequency Identification System and functions very similar to a supermarket barcode. A microchip is a passive transponder, which means it responds to a scanner. It is not a transmitter and has no power source.

A microchip reader/scanner produces a polarised low frequency electromagnetic field. It is a reliable, interference free transmission without contact.

There are many dogs already microchipped and many exotic or expensive animals are microchipped all over the world. The greatest benefit to a dog owner is that if a microchipped dog is lost, stolen or has escaped and strayed, it can easily be identified and reunited with the owner.

Dogs Required to be Microchipped

There are five different categories of dogs that have to be microchipped:

  • Classified Dangerous after 1 Dec 2003
  • Classified Menacing after 1 Dec 2003
  • Registered for the first time after 1 July 2006
  • Impounded, Registered for the second time after 1 July 2006
  • Impounded, Unregistered after 1 July 2006

Nine Good Reasons To Microchip Your Dog

  1. Finding Lost or Stolen Dogs - if a beloved pet or valuable farm dog is lost or stolen, it can be matched to its owner instantly and reunited. Every year thousands of dogs are euthanased. The main reason is that an owner cannot be located.
  2. Proving Ownership - even when your lost or stolen dog is found there is no way to prove that it is your dog unless it is microchipped. Up to 25% of ear brands are not identifiable (Dr John F Newell B. V.Sc February 2006)
  3. Proving Identity - offenders try to claim that the dog in their possession is a different dog (to avoid the consequences of a previous history).
  4. Cost - it is a one-off cost and is a relatively inexpensive mechanism for identifying your dog. Many dog owners have already voluntarily microchipped their dogs.
  5. Tracking Complaint History - dogs can no longer be moved from one place to another to avoid detection. Where there is previous history then more stringent action is likely.
  6. Notification of Transfers - there is a huge cost savings to Councils (and consequently to ratepayers/registration fees) because they are not having to follow up transferred dogs.
  7. Claiming Damages - for example when a dog is destroyed for worrying stock, if it has ever been previously registered, impounded or classified it will have a microchip and the stock owner can claim damages.
  8. The National Dog Database - is continuously up-dated through local Council records. Other databases rely on the dog owners to update any changes.
  9. Improved Dog Control - effective dog control means improved community safety.

District Bylaws & Policies Relating To Animal Control

The Control of Dogs Bylaw sets standards of control that must be observed by dog owners. It covers matters such as dogs in public places, wandering dogs, ownership of more than two dogs and nuisances caused by dogs. Please see below for this and other policies, guidelines and bylaws relating to animal control.

The Dog Control Act 1996

This Act makes the Council responsible for the control of dogs and makes the annual registration of dogs mandatory. The legislation stipulates that it is an offence to own a dog over the age of 3 months that is not registered. A full copy of the Dog Control Act 1996 can be viewed here.

Also of relevance is the Impounding Act 1955 and the Animal Welfare Act 1999.