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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.

Owning a pet - your responsibilitiesReunited shutterstock_1202461480.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.
  • Make sure your fences are secure, and your doors and gates are kept closed. This is important not only when you're away from home, but also when you are home and go through them to ensure that your dog is safe at home where they should be! Many times when we contact dog owners to say we've found them, they assume their dog is in their yard. Not only that, over 80% of dog attacks occur just outside the dog's property because they can escape and wander the streets. Backyard is best. 
  • Don't let your dog approach, chase or attack people or other animals. Not everyone loves your dog as you do and some people, especially children, are scared of any dog that approaches.
  • Have effective control of your dog in public. When out and about, make sure your dog is with someone capable of restraining them at all times. If you can't be sure of that, leave them at home. Plan ahead and don't take them out if you have to tie them up somewhere - its not fun for them to be left alone.
  • 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. A happy dog is one who's needs are met, like food, water, comfortable sleeping space, plenty of interaction and socialising - dogs are pack animals. If your dog is not content it may start to display nuisance behaviours, such as barking, digging and being destructive. If barking becomes and issue, take your dog for a health check to make sure there's no underlying medical reason for the barking. Obedience training can also benefit nuisance behaviours.
  • Clean up after your animal and dispose of the litter appropriately.

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.

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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!


Current fees and discounts


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!

Have you heard the great news? Council has changed the rules around how dogs interact in public places!On leash on paths shutterstock_345461969.jpg

From Tuesday 17th December 2019 there will now be almost 40 Council owned or managed parks and reserves where you can take your dog/s to have some off leash play time. We’ve even got some fully fenced options in the shire now for those who may not feel as confident getting their dog to recall in a public place.


Some basic rules of respect using shared use open spaces still apply and more information explaining these rules is available on the Dogs in Public Places page.


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 .They can pass through, but not stay in these areas identified as popular areas throughout the summer period. Refer to General Local Law 2017.


The areas that this applies too can be found under Schedule 6 of the General Local Law 2017 and is aligned to the new Order No 2 recently adopted by Council. Checkout the factsheet for Dog Leash Rules for Beaches and Foreshores showing maps of these areas.


Fully fenced dog off leash areas

Council facilities:

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

Private facility:

  • Brackenbush Unleashed - 117 Hoggs Lane Lakes Entrance, a Pick My Project funded community facility

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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