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Frequently asked questions about pets
Under the Companion Animals Act 1998, a dog may be declared a 'Nuisance' dog if it does any of the following:
- Consistently roams
- Makes persistent, excessive noise
- Repeatedly defecates on private property other than the property on which it is ordinarily kept
- Runs at or chases a person, animal (other than vermin or in the course of droving, tending, working or protecting livestock) or vehicle
- Endangers the health of a person or animal (other than vermin or in the course of droving, tending, working or protecting livestock)
- Repeatedly causes substantial damage to anything outside the property on which it is ordinarily kept
Council receives numerous customer requests about barking dogs.
Dogs may bark for a number of reasons which include but are not limited to:
- Lack of training
- Lack of exercise
- Being chained to a fixed location
- Competitive barking with other animals in nearby areas
- Boredom or loneliness
- Lack of food or water
- Ill health
- Being provoked by other animals or people
- No shelter or kennel
If your local council identifies a serious or ongoing problem, it may issue a Nuisance Order requiring the owner of a dog to prevent the dog barking.
If the problem persists, the Council may issue Penalty Notices for first and repeat offences, with the amount of the fine increasing for the second offence.
The maximum penalty for failure to comply with a nuisance order issued in relation to a dog is $880 for a first offence and $1,650 for a second or subsequent offence.
Any person affected by a barking dog may also wish to take their own independent action by seeking a noise abatement order under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 through the local court.
The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) website has tips for dealing with barking dogs.
For further information on how to deal with a barking dog, you should contact your local vet, your local dog training club or animal behaviourist.
Where was your cat last night?
There is currently a serious threat to our wildlife. It is felis domesticus, the common domestic cat. A cat may purr and play with balls of string, but it can still be a formidable and dangerous hunter.
Did you know that one in three households have at least one cat, and that the average domestic cat kills about 25 native animals a year? These figures indicate that cats kill about 75 million native animals each year.
Domestic cats are known to kill anything up to their own size, including:
- Mammals such as brushtail possums, pygmy possums, sugar and feathertail gliders, bats, marsupial mice and native rats
- Birds, such as parrots, honeyeaters, pigeons, robins, kingfishers, quails, finches, willy-wagtails, and wrens
- Frogs and several reptiles such as legless lizards, blue-tongued lizards, bearded dragons, geckoes and skinks
Recent evidence suggests that being well-fed does not stop domestic cats from hunting. The best way to stop cats from hunting is to stop them from roaming. Keeping cats in at night reduces the number of native animals killed.
Wearing a bell does not stop cats from hunting, as they stalk their prey without the bell ringing until the moment they pounce - and then it is too late for the victim. Baby birds and mammals nesting cannot escape from cats whether or not they have bells.
You can get an illustrated colour brochure version of this information below.
Responsible cat ownership
Being a responsible cat owner is one way that you can help reduce the cat problem in Australia. It involves taking the following actions:
- Desexing your cats
- Limiting the number of cats you keep
- Keeping your cats at home, either inside the house or in an outside run
- Identifying your cats by microchip collar and tag
Cats have a great potential for rapid increase in population numbers. They can have three litters each year, with an average of five kittens per litter. Births can occur in all months but mostly from spring to late summer. Kittens are weaned at eight weeks, and can reproduce from when they are about one year old.
Rapid reproduction of cats in urban areas contributes to the large numbers of stray cats that are put down each year by animal welfare agencies. For example a female cat, having four female kittens a year could in ten years be responsible for nearly two million female descendants.
Responsible cat ownership benefits cats, cat owners and neighbours as well as wildlife.
- Desexed cats are better and more docile pets
- Cats kept in at night are less likely to be hurt in fights, pick up diseases, be hit by cars or annoy neighbours
- Dumped and stray cats are often sick and in bad condition. Animal welfare agencies have to put down thousands of unwanted cats each year
Randwick City Council along with cat welfare agencies such as the RSPCA and Cat Protection Societies encourage responsible cat ownership.
For further information on desexing or how to microchip your cat please contact your nearest veterinarian.
Sometimes other animals which are kept on a property can cause a nuisance to nearby residents. Owners and neighbours are encouraged to try and resolve any concerns amicably. The Community Justice Centre is also able to provide mediation services, to help resolve neighbourhood disputes and nuisances.
If you have been unable to resolve the concerns with the owner of the animal and if the animal or animals are causing an excessive noise or nuisance, please contact Council and provide details of the concerns and impacts and action taken to try to resolve the problem. Council's Environmental Health or Compliance Officers will investigate the concerns and advise of their assessment and any action that they may be taken to help address or reduce the concerns.