Who's a good boy? Council rules about dogs

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There’s been a lot of dog-related news this week so we thought it was a good time to outline some of the rules that every resident – dog owner or not – should know about dogs in Randwick City. It goes without saying that most dogs (and owners!) are very well behaved – and we thank you for doing the right thing. Here, we answer some of the most common question we receive about dogs.

Does my dog need a collar? (Yes!)
Even though all dogs should be microchipped, the law still states that your dog needs to wear a collar with a name tag with contact information. The collar means that if your dog runs away or escapes, it can be identified easily and returned by a resident, without needing to be scanned for its microchip. The fine for not wearing a collar is minimum $180.

Do I need to always use a lead?
There are a lot of beautifully trained dogs, who happily trot behind or in front of their owner while going for a walk. But even if this describes your dog, you still need to keep your dog on a lead at all times, unless you’re in an off-leash park. You never know when another less well-behaved dog (or human) will come along and scare or spook your dog and send it off running. Additionally, there are plenty of young kids or adults who may not be comfortable around dogs of any kind. Keeping your dog on a leash is the only way to ensure it is kept safe at all times. The fine for not using a leash is minimum $330.

What is considered a dog attack?
According to the Companion Animals Act 1998, rushing at, chasing, harassing, or biting a person or animal, even if no injury has occurred are all considered to be dog attacks. There are hefty fines for owners of a dog that has attacked a person or animal and in some cases the dog may be declared dangerous or menacing.

What is a menacing or dangerous dog?
If a dog is declared dangerous or menacing, there are certain rules the owner must abide by. A dangerous or menacing dog must be kept on a lead as well as muzzled securely and be under the effective control of a competent person when not confined to an enclosure on its own property. It may not be left in charge of a person under the age of 18. Additionally, the dog must be de-sexed, and wear a distinctive red and yellow striped collar at all times. Plus, “Warning, Dangerous Dog” signs must be clearly visible from the boundaries of the property where the dog is usually kept. It is the owner’s responsibility to ensure these requirements are in place at all times, or significant fines may occur. Click here to read further rules and restrictions of dogs officially labelled menacing or dangerous. 

How is a dog declared a menacing and dangerous dog?
If a dog is reported to Council as having attacked a person or another animal, Council will conduct an investigation into the incident. Interviews of both parties and witnesses will take place and incident reports and evidence (such as photos or medical reports) will be taken into account. At the end of the investigation, Council will conclude if the dog should be considered menacing or dangerous. A dog can be categorised as dangerous, menacing or a nuisance by Rangers.

What should I do if a dog attack occurs?
What needs to be done depends on the situation. If someone is hurt, you should call an ambulance or get to a hospital. You may also want to call the police to report the incident. Council Rangers should always be called, even if you have called the police, as it is Council who are responsible for dogs, not the police. Council will keep a record of the dog attacks and know the history of the dogs and their owners. It is also a good idea to take any photos of any injuries that occurred due to the attack and keep track of medical reports from doctors or veterinarians.

What are the rules about muzzling a dog in public?
Only dogs that have been categorised as ‘dangerous’ or ‘menacing’ need to be muzzled when in public, and Greyhounds in certain situations. However, some owners of dogs choose to muzzle their pets for a variety of reasons. For instance, to prevent them from eating unknown items in public or to assure others that their dog is safe. If your dog is anxious or easily spooked in public, using a muzzle is a precautionary way to protect your dog and others from any incident.

Do dogs have to be desexed?
Your dog doesn’t have to be desexed if you’re planning on breeding the dog. However, it needs to be registered with Council and it is more costly to register a dog that hasn’t been desexed. If you’re not a dog breeder, it’s a smart idea to desex your pets.

Do I need to register my dog?
In addition to microchipping by the age of 12 weeks, dogs and cats must be registered with Council within six-months of ownership.  You can register your pet with Council online or in person at our Customer Service Centre at 30 Frances Street, Randwick.

Where can I take my dog off-leash?
We understand that your dog is an important member of the family and ensuring you exercise your dogs, while having lots of fun with them is important. We have a number of off-leash parks across Randwick City.  All off-leash dog areas are clearly marked and describe where dogs can be kept off-leash. At all other times, your dog must be kept on a leash.

Can dogs go on beaches?
We often get asked this question by dog owners. We know that exercising your dog on a beach can be a great experience for both the dog and dog owner. However, Randwick City’s 10 beaches are among the most visited and popular beaches in the country. They are also much smaller than most beaches outside of Sydney. For these reasons Council does not allow dogs on our beaches – whether on or off leash. Other councils who have larger beaches or less populated areas provide off leash beaches including Bayside, Sutherland and Woollahra councils.

Are greyhounds allowed to go off-leash?
Yes, however greyhounds are required to undergo an approved retraining program once they are no longer racing. They may need to wear a muzzle in an off-leash area until their approved retraining program is complete. Greyhounds that have completed this program will continue to wear identifying green collars, or, alternatively the person in charge of the animal can carry a completion card.

How many dogs can you walk at once?
A dog that is in a public place must be under the effective control of a competent person by means of an adequate chain, cord or leash that is attached to the dog and that is being held by (or secured to) the person. A dog is not considered to be under effective control of a person if the person has more than four dogs in his or her control.

Thanks to all the dog owners who lovingly care for their dogs and abide by the rules. We appreciate it!

Last Updated: 1 March 2022
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