Keeping Animals

Pet owners are responsible for registering and microchipping their dog or cat, and making sure it isn’t a nuisance to your neighbours or other animals. You can also keep chickens in your yard as long as you follow our guidelines. 

Microchipping cats and dogs

All cats and dogs must be microchipped by the time they reach 12 weeks of age or before the point of sale if sold before the age of 12 weeks. 

Microchips are a tiny computer chip that is injected under the skin between the shoulder blades by either council rangers or your local vet.

Microchipping is considered a form of permanent identification so it is important to keep your contact details updated with Council, this helps reunite owners with lost pets quickly.

Approved working dogs used primarily for the purpose of droving, tending, working or protecting stock are exempt from Registration fees. However, these dogs are still required to be microchipped and registered.

Register your pet

All dogs and cats must be lifetime registered with the NSW Pet Registry by six months of age.  You will need to provide a microchip certificate or letter from your vet, and if applicable, proof of desexing. 

Registering your pet can be done online or in person at one of Council's administration centres.

Visit the NSW Office of Local Government website for a full list of registration fees


Desexing your pet

You do not have to have your cat or dog desexed, (unless it is a declared dangerous dog or similar), however you are encouraged to have your cat or dog desexed as this will help to reduce straying, fighting and aggression and antisocial behaviour, such as spraying to mark territory, It also helps to reduce the number of unwanted pets born each year.

Discounted registration fees apply to desexed dogs and an annual permit is required to keep a not desexed cat.

There is no scientific evidence to show that it is better to allow an animal to have one litter before being desexed. Desexing before six months of age is recommended.


Collar and tag

Your dog must wear a collar with an identification tag stating the name of the dog and the address or telephone number of the owner. A tag for your cat will help it be returned to you if lost.

Keep your dog on a leash or secured in your yard at all times unless within a designated off leash area

Your dog must, unless it is exempt from this requirement, be under the effective control of a competent person at all times when out in public. This means that it must be on a leash and under the control of someone capable of restraining it. A small child, for example, may not be able to control a large dog. Under these circumstances, an adult capable of restraining the dog, should walk the dog.

A dog is not considered to be under the effective control of a competent person if the person has more than 4 dogs under his or her control.

Failure to comply with this requirement is a fineable offence, you, or if you are not present, the person in control of your dog, if they are aged 16 or over, may be liable for a penalty.

This requirement does not apply to a dog:

  • in an off-leash area (but only if the total number of dogs of which its owner has control does not exceed 4) or
  • a dog engaged in droving, tending or working of stock or
  • a dog being exhibited for show purposes or
  • a dog participating in an obedience class, trial or exhibition or
  • a police dog or
  • a corrective services dog or
  • a dog secured in a cage or vehicle or tethered to a fixed object or structure.

Cleaning up after your dog

Carry plastic bags with you to pick up dog droppings. If you do not clean up after your dog in a public area, you could be fined.

Prohibited areas for dogs:

  • Within 10 metres of a children’s play area
  • Within 10 metres of food preparation or consumption areas, except cafés or restaurants whose owners permit dogs (not restricted dogs or declared dangerous dogs) in their outdoor dining areas
  • Recreation areas where dogs are prohibited
  • Public bathing areas where dogs are prohibited
  • School grounds
  • Child care centres
  • Shopping centres where dogs are prohibited
  • Wildlife protection areas.

Conditions and exceptions apply, visit the Office of Local Government website for details.

New rules for muzzling Greyhounds

From 1 July 2019, greyhounds registered on the NSW Pet Registry are no longer required to wear a muzzle in public. However, a greyhound will still require a muzzle in an off-leash area if it has not undergone an approved retraining program. Greyhounds that have completed this program will continue to wear identifying green collars.

Like all breeds of dogs in NSW, greyhounds will still be required to be on a leash while in public at all times, unless they are in a council designated off-leash area.

Find out more at the Office of Local Government Website



Statistics show that it’s safer for cats to be kept indoors. Keeping a cat indoors:

  • leads to a longer and healthier life
  • protects native wildlife
  • can prevent neighbourhood conflict caused by noisy or roaming cats
  • protects your cat from other animals

Outdoor enclosures are an alternative to keeping a cat indoors.

Roaming cats

There’s no law prohibiting cats from roaming, but there may be consequences if your cat roams beyond your property or is considered a nuisance. The Companion Animals Act outlines what constitutes a nuisance cat and what you’re responsible for as a cat owner.

For cat owners:

  • all cats must be identified by a form of identification that enables a local authority to ascertain the name of the cat and the address or telephone number of the owner
  • cats are prohibited in wildlife protection areas and food preparation/consumption areas
  • you must ensure your cat does not interfere with the peace, comfort or convenience of any person in any other premises
  • your cat must not repeatedly damage anything outside the property on which it is ordinarily kept. 


To prevent health and safety problems, Upper Hunter Shire Council enforces Schedule 2 of the Local Government (General) Regulation 2005, which details the standards for keeping birds and animals.

Poultry must not be kept under such conditions as to create a nuisance or to be dangerous or injurious to health.

Poultry are not allowed to roam freely within the property and shall be kept in the specified enclosure at all times.

 Poultry yards must at all times be kept clean and free from offensive odours.

Fowls (birds of the species Gallus Gallus) or guinea fowls must not be kept within 4.5 metres (or such greater distance as council may determine in a particular case) of a dwelling, public hall, school or premises used for the manufacture, preparation, sale or storage of food.

Poultry (other than fowls) must not be kept within 30 metres of any building as referred above.

The floors of poultry houses must be paved with concrete or mineral asphalt underneath the roosts or perches. However, this subclause does not apply to poultry houses:(a) that are not within 15.2 metres of a dwelling, public hall or school, or (b) that are situated on clean sand.

Poultry yards must be so enclosed as to prevent the escape of poultry.

The coop and enclosure must be:

  • maximum area 6 sq m
  • maximum height 2.4m
  • located in rear yard
  • in residential zones not to extend within 10m of a main road; 6.5m of a secondary road; not to breach any de facto building line
  • in non-urban zones not to extend within 30m to a main road; or 20m to all secondary roads and public reserves
  • not within 900mm of side or rear boundary in zones other than Non-Urban
  • not within 7.5m of side or rear boundary in zones 1(a) and 1(b)
  • not within 6.5m of side or rear boundary in zone 1(c)
  • constructed of non-combustible materials if located in a bushfire area

It is recommended that you consult with your neighbours before obtaining any poultry, do not keep roosters due to likely noise nuisances and to store poultry feed so as not to attract vermin.