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Domestic Animals

Information about lost and found pets, dogs in public places, off leash areas, dog and cat registrations and renewals, pet ownership responsibilities, fact sheets, animal welfare links and fines and fees can be found here.

Lost Pets

Dogs and cats that are found wandering are taken to the East Gippsland Animal Shelter.


If you've lost a pet, check these lists to see if it is at the shelter

(list shows all shelters operated by Animal Aid) 



or phone the shelter on 03 5152 1389.


Shelter details

40 Giles Street Bairnsdale

Open 10.00 am to 2.30 pm weekdays    10.00am to 12.00 pm weekends


If you're missing livestock call council on 03 5153 9500 in case they've been reported found or impounded.


Dogs in Public Places - On or off leash - that depends when and where you are!


Under Order No 1 pursuant to the Domestic Animals Act 1994 adopted by Council 2 October 2018, dogs have to be on leash at all times in public places throughout the shire, except for at two designated fully fenced areas located in;

  • Bairnsdale - a part of the Bosworth Road former landfill site which has been redeveloped and will open officially on 3 December 2019; and
  • Lakes Entrance - in Palmers Road next door to the Aquadome which will also be opening in early December.

Animals on beaches and foreshores

Animals, including dogs and horses, must not swim in beach areas or stay in foreshore reserves between 1 November and 30 April in each year . Refer to General Local Law 2017.


The areas that this applies too can be found under Schedule 6 of the General Local Law 2017. Checkout the factsheet for beaches and foreshore reserves showing maps of these areas.


From 17 December 2019

New rules for East Gippsland Shire are being introduced under Order No 2, which was adopted by Council on 13 November 2019 to run as a trial for six months, which will allow dog owners to have their dogs off leash in some parks, recreation reserves and waterways.


Where do I have to have my dog on leash?

On leash requirements will still apply in township areas within any area with a speed limit of 60km/hr or less including;

  • all roads and footpaths; and
  • shopping precincts and car parks.

 Unless otherwise signed, dogs must be on leash;

  • within 20m of a waterway in parks and reserves in township areas; and
  • on all Council-managed beaches and foreshores.

Where can I let my dog off leash?

 Unless otherwise signed, dogs may be off leash, but under effective control of a person;

  • in all *Council-managed public parks, recreation reserves and ovals; and
  • outside township areas (excluding **beaches and foreshores)

but must be restrained by a leash when;

  • within 5m of a walking or bicycle track;
  • an organised sports activity (including training sessions), public meeting, event or market is occurring;
  • within 20m of a playground or play area; or
  • within 20m of a barbeque or picnic area.

*A page is under development to list which parks and recreation reserves these rules will apply to.

**Checkout the Beaches and Foreshore Reserves factsheet which explains the Council managed beaches and foreshores that remain on leash.


Dogs still have to be under effective control whether they are on or off leash.


What does effective control mean?

It means the dog is under the control of someone capable of restraining it.

If at any time when you walk your dog on leash, if you are not able to restrain it, it is not under effective control.

When in an off leash area, you need to have a chain, cord or leash on you to be able to restrain your dog if it behaves in a threatening way and always stay within effective voice or hand control distance of the dog.


Registering your pet

Under state legislation, it is a requirement for all dogs and cats aged 3 months and over to be microchipped and registered.


Registering your pet, ensuring that they wear their Council tag and keeping your contact details current is the best way to keep them safe and to have them returned home to you if they do get out.

Dogs and cats that are currently registered and are wearing their tag will, in most cases, be taken straight back home to you and not taken to the pound, avoiding extra costs for you.


Council would much rather your pet be safe and securely confined at home than on the road or even in our care, and to make the registration process easy for you, click on the Animal Registration Online Form and sign your pet up now!


See our Animal fees and fines page for details of current fees and discounts.


Owning a pet - your responsibilitiesdog.jpg


Council supports a free Responsible Pet Ownership program and has a number of Fact Sheets to assist pet owners. 

The Victorian Government website also has a wealth of information around pet ownership; from tips on choosing the right pet, looking after the welfare of your pet and looking at your legal responsibilities as a pet owner.


In summary, some of your responsibilities include:

  • Microchip and register all of your dogs and cats over 3 months of age. Registration is complete when the form has been filled in and submitted, supporting documents have been provided and the relevant fee has also been paid.
  • Don't let your dog chase or attack people or other animals.
  • When out and about, control your dog in public, or keep it confined to your property.
  • Contain cats to your property at all times. Stop your pet straying onto another person's property, if the person objects.
  • Look after your dog's needs. Make sure your dog doesn't bark persistently. If it does, have a health check to make sure there's no underlying medical reason for the barking.
  • Clean up after your animal and dispose of the litter appropriately.

Fees and fines

If you break the law in relation to dogs or cats, you could receive an infringement. The amount of the infringement depends what the offence was.

Serious or repeat offences may be heard in a Magistrates' Court where higher penalties and costs would apply.

In the case of a serious dog attack, your dog may also be seized and either have restrictions placed on the way it is kept, such as a dangerous dog declaration, or it may even be destroyed. 

See our Fees and fines page for more information. 


How many pets can I have?

Residential areas:

2 cats, 2 dogs, no guinea fowl or roosters, 4 poultry hens, no roosters, 4 domestic birds, 4 domestic mice, 2 guinea pigs, 2 domestic rabbits.

No other livestock is allowed.

Puppies or kittens of registered dogs and cats are not included in these numbers for the first 16 weeks after their birth.


Farming areas:

6 cats, 6 dogs, 20 guinea fowl and roosters, 20 poultry including 2 roosters, 100 domestic birds, 10 domestic mice, 10 guinea pigs, 2 domestic rabbits.

Puppies or kittens of registered dogs and cats are not counted in these numbers for the first 16 weeks after their birth.

If you want to Keep more than the prescribed amount of animals please complete the Application to Keep More Than Allowed Animals .


Cat Curfew

Council adopted a cat curfew pursuant to Section 25 of the Domestic Animals Act 1994 many years ago in an attempt to minimise nuisance issues and keep cats safely at home.

Since 1 January 2003 it has been an offence for cats to be found at large outside the premises of the owner or not securely confined to the owners premises at any time of the day or night. 24/7.

Some helpful information of keeping your cat safe and happy can be found below.


Problem dogs

The state government has laws controlling dangerous, aggressive and restricted breed dogs.

Dogs who create a nuisance by barking continually may also be a problem.

For more information on what you can do, visit our Problem dogs page.  


Fact sheets

Pet Ownership Fact Sheets

Domestic Animal Management Plan 2017-2021

Cat enrichment


Animal welfare contacts

Animal Adoptions (Victorian Animal Aid Trust)

Central Animal Records (Microchip Register)

Wildlife Victoria  (Injured Wildlife)

RSPCA (Animal Cruelty and Neglect)



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