Planning, Rules & Payments
Pets and Animals
Owning a dog or cat in Towong Shire
Many people do not realise that there are legal obligations that come with owning a dog or cat in the Towong Shire and failing to meet these can result in a fine and/or your pet being impounded.
Under the Domestic Animals Regulations Act 2005 every dog or cat over the age of three months must be registered with Council and micro-chipped. Registration is paid annually and is due in April. Download a registration form below. If you move house, you must also notify Council of your change of address.
There are also limits on the number of cats and dogs you may own and keep on your property. On properties smaller than ten hectares, you are allowed to keep up to two dogs and two cats. Owners wishing to keep more than this number must apply for a permit through Council.
If you allow your dog to wander, cause a nuisance through persistent barking, or if you fail to clean up after your dog outside your property you may incur an infringement which could result in a fine. These rules are made with the best interests of the community in mind. It is advisable to become familiar with your obligations as a pet owner to avoid financial penalties.
Owning a farm animal as a pet or as a hobby farmer
Farm animals are very popular with owners of small properties, whether you have a goat to keep the grass down or your kids have talked you in to having a pet pig.
There are local laws and state legal requirements you must comply with if you own a farm animal.
The first thing you must do when you are looking to own cattle (cows), sheep, pigs, goats, alpacas, llamas, horses, deer or more than 100 poultry is apply for a Livestock Property Identification Code (PIC). PICs are free and easy to obtain through the Department of Economic Development’s Livestock PICs website page. PICs are important in the event of a serious livestock disease outbreak. They allow for the tracing of animals to detect where an outbreak may have started and to help control and eradicate disease. PICs are also linked to systems such as the National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) and commercial operators will need a PIC to sell and move animals. To find out more about PICS and to obtain yours, visit the Livestock PICs website page.
Dog and Cat Registration Fees - effective from August 1, 2015
|Maximum Fee*||Maximum Pensioner Fee*||Reduced Fee**||Reduced Pensioner Fee|
*This includes a State Government levy of $3.50 per dog and $2 per cat primarily used to fund responsible pet ownership programs.
**The reduced eligibility conditions denote that an animal must be de-sexed, or over the age of ten years, or part of a domestic animal business or applicable organisation or a dog that has undergone training as determined by the Domestic Animals Regulations.
There is a fee of $19.50 for registration of a working dog.
What are my responsibilities as a pet owner?
Cat and dog owners can be fined or prosecuted for offences in certain circumstances. You can be fined if:
- Your dog is found wandering at large outside your premises.
- You encourage or cause your dog to attack, bite, worry or chase a person or another animal.
- Your dog or cat is a nuisance or you fail to comply with a court notice ordering you to stop the cat or dog being a nuisance. This includes persistent barking which annoys your neighbours.
- Your dog or cat wanders onto private property without the owner’s permission on more than one occasion and a warning has been issued by the Council, an infringement notice maybe issued.
- You allow any part of the animal’s excrement to remain on any road, street, nature strip, reserve, public or Council land.
- You do not take responsibility for any damage your dog or cat may cause.
The Domestic (Feral and Nuisance) Animals Regulations 2005 require that all dogs and cats must be microchipped prior to being registered with Council for the first time.
Impoundment Fees – effective from August 1, 2015
If your pet or animal is impounded you will incur the following charges:
|Fee per animal|
|Cat or dog - release||$90|
|Cattle, sheep, horse - release||$40|
|Sustenance||$18 per animal per day|
|Transport (cattle, sheep, horse)||Cost including labour plus 50%|
If your animal is impounded, it will be taken to the Wodonga pound which is operated by Wodonga City Council. Animals impounded are photographed and posted to the Wodonga Council website for identification.
How many animals can I keep?
You can keep up to two dogs and two cats over 12 weeks of age on properties that are smaller than 10 hectares. The number of farm animals you can keep on your property depends on the size of your property, check our local laws. You must apply to Council for a permit if you wish to keep more than the number of animals allowed by our local laws.
What is a ‘dangerous dog’?
Many dog owners believe dogs are declared ‘dangerous’ due to their breed or size. This is not so. A dog may be declared dangerous if it attacks and seriously injures a person or another animal. There are rules for dogs declared ‘dangerous’ such as special identification requirements, warning signs on the property and a muzzle to be used when off the owner’s premises. Council has determined that any declared dangerous dog (involved in an attack) is not welcome in our Shire. Council will not register or renew the registration of a dangerous dog and as a result the dog must be removed from the municipality. If you wish to ascertain if a dog has been declared as dangerous please ring the Dangerous Dog Hotline on 1300 101 080.
What is a ‘restricted breed’?
There are four breeds of dog that are banned from being imported into Australia – the Dogo Argentino, the Japanese Tosa, the Fila Brasileiro and the American Pit Bull Terrier, commonly called the Pit Bull Terrier. Council has determined that these breeds are not permitted in our community. A Restricted Breed dog, new to the area, will not be registered, which means the dog must be removed from the Towong municipal area.
Dog Attack - information about preventing attacks
Attacks by dogs on humans, other companion animals and livestock are largely preventable. All dogs, regardless of age, breed or temperament, have the capacity to cause harm or injury to another animal or person, especially children and the elderly. An information package has been prepared to help dog owners and others to understand how dogs attacks can be prevented and what may happen in the event of a dog attack. The information package can be downloaded below.
Wodonga Dog Rescue
If you are looking for a new canine addition to your family, why not adopt a dog and save it from death row? The Wodonga Dog Rescue is completely operated by volunteers who work tirelessly to find new homes for dogs who have ended up in the pound and are desperately in need of new forever homes.
The wonderful Wodonga Dog Rescue volunteers look after dogs from Albury Wodonga and the wider region.
Check out the Wodonga Dog Rescue website for information on how much it costs to adopt a dog (they also re-home cats) or if you want to volunteer for or donate to this worthy cause.
Caring for your Pet in an Emergency
The RSPCA website contains information about how to deal with pet emergencies such as finding a lost pet, first aid for your pet and emergency planning.
Information for owners of pigs
Feeding food scraps to pigs can be dangerous and is illegal. Feeding food waste to pigs, known as swill feeding, poses a huge risk for the entry and spread of devastating animal diseases into Australia. Swill feeding was the route by which infection was introduced to the UK causing the devastating 2001 outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease.
Food waste containing meat, other animal by-products, some dairy products and any food that has come into contact with these prohibited foods must not be fed to pigs.Some examples of food that must not be provided to pigs includes:
- meat, meat products and some dairy products including butter, cheese and yoghurt
- vegetables, rice, pasta and any other food that has been in direct contact with meat
- pizza bun rolls, meat pies
- bacon and cheese rolls, salad rolls containing meat
- Caesar salad (because it contains bacon pieces)
- steak, hamburgers, sausages and butcher’s shop waste
If in doubt about the suitability of any food, do not feed it to your animals.
For the health of your pigs it is best to have a planned diet. There are specific feeds available that are designed to meet the nutritional needs of pigs and keep them in the best condition. A range of information on pig health and welfare information is available from the Department of Economic Development, this includes the specifics on prohibited pigs feeds.