Government Legislation

Local Council Requirements

The Domestic Animals Act 1994 gives Local Councils the responsibility of managing the dogs and cats within their municipality.

Local Councils are responsible for registering both dogs and cats, and for managing the animals within their area to ensure that they do not create a nuisance - this includes dealing with barking complaints, lost and wandering animals, and control of the uses of community spaces.

In addition to the state laws, Councils can also introduce 'Local Laws' relating to the number of animals that can be housed at a property based on its size and zoning, on and off leash areas, dog-free areas, and cat curfews.

If you are not sure of the Local Laws that apply to you, you can visit your Local Council's website where there will be a section on animal ownership. 

It is a condition of membership that Dogs Victoria members comply with the relevant local laws and ordinances for their area.

You can read Dogs Victoria's Understanding Permits and Council Requirements fact sheet

Dogs Victoria has also produced an Information Sheet for Council Staff, to assist where there is confusion in relation to Dogs Victoria Members and the exemptions that apply to members of an Applicable Organisation.


Dog Registration 

All dogs and cats over the age of 3 months are required, by law, to be registered with their local council.  Registration runs from the 10th April each year, and you will need to pay a fee each year to keep your pet’s registration current.

Dogs Victoria members are NOT exempt from this requirement.

The rules relating to the registration of dogs and cats form Part 2 of the Domestic Animals Act 1994 which outlines the process for registration, the setting of fees, and requirements for microchipping and identification.  It also gives individual councils the right to impose mandatory de-sexing requirements and outlines those animals that may be exempt from this requirement. 

Domestic Animal Business Registration

Council is also responsible for registering Domestic Animal Businesses - this includes shelters, pounds, boarding kennels, pet shops and training establishments.

Domestic Breeding Business registration is required for breeders who:

  • Have 3 or more fertile females, but who are NOT a member of an Applicable Organisation

Members of an Applicable Organisation who have more than 10 fertile females (these breeders also have to apply to the Minister for approval as a Commercial Breeder)

Lost and Wandering Animals

Local Council, is also responsible for lost and wandering animals.  Many Councils run their own Local Pound facility, or share the responsibility with other nearby councils.  Some Councils make use of external contractors, such as animal welfare groups, to manage their pound facilities.

Most Councils aim to return registered and microchipped dogs back to their owners rather than impounding them, and some even run a Local Facebook Page or website aimed at reuniting lost animals with their owners.

Dangerous and Menacing Dogs 

Local Council Officers are the ones that also have to deal with dog attacks, and have the option of having the dog 'declared' as Dangerous or Menacing under the Act.

Dangerous and Menacing Dogs have additional housing and safety requirements such as being muzzled in public, and being housed in a child-proof enclosure.  

Barking and Nuisance Complaints

Local Council Officers are also responsible for investigating barking and nuisance complaints, although they will first suggest that you discuss your concerns with your neighbour directly in the first instance.

Domestic Animal Management Plan 

Your local council is also obliged to develop a ‘Domestic Animal Management Plan’ every four years that outlines how they plan to manage domestic animals, encourage responsible pet ownership, and how they plan to enforce the laws.

You will find a copy of your council’s Domestic Animal Management Plan on their website, and we encourage members to have their say as the Plan is being developed.  Most Councils have periods of community consultation where the draft plan is available for comment.