The Companion Animals Act 1998, which came into effect in September 1998, replacing the Dog Act 1966, is designed to benefit pets, their owners and the wider community. Numerous changes were recently made to the Companion Animals Act 1998 which came into effect in November 2013.
Amongst other things, the Companion Animals Act requires cats and dogs to be identified by microchip by the age of 12 weeks and lifetime registered by the age of 6 months. The permanent identification and lifetime registration system, which came into effect on 1 July 1999, greatly assists authorities in returning lost and injured animals to their owners. It provides NSW Councils with a more effective means of keeping track of cats and dogs for the benefit of the wider community.
Registering your Companion Animal - a two step process
Step 1 - Microchipping your animal
Under the Companion Animals Act, cats and dogs, which reside in NSW, must be identified by microchip by 12 weeks of age. Microchipping your animal is the first step in the registration process.
When an animal is microchipped its identification details are entered onto the NSW Companion Animals Register. A certificate is issued to the owner receipting the entry of their animal's details.
Microchips are about the same size as a large grain of rice. They are very safe. Your pet will feel little pain as the chip is inserted quickly and safely under the skin between the shoulders.
When the chip is scanned, a number displayed on the scanner will be used to identify your cat or dog.
Microchipping can be arranged through your local vet or authorised implanter.
Step 2 - Registering your animal
Once you have microchipped your animal, you then need to lifetime register it by 6 months of age. Infringements may be issued to owners of animals whose animal is older than 6 months of age and is not registered.
Lifetime registrations can be made at any Council, the RSPCA or the Animal Welfare League.
For information on costs and documentation required please contact Council on 6333 6531.
Note for Cat Owners
- If your cat was born, sold or given away after July 1999, it must be microchipped and lifetime registered through a local Council.
- If you owned your cat before July 1999, you must identify your cat with a collar and tag or microchip. You do not have to register the cat.
The only allowable registration exemptions are provided for in Section 16 of the Companion Animals Regulation:
- a cat born before 1 July 1999, other than a cat whose ownership changes after that date,
- an animal that is ordinarily kept outside New South Wales, but not if the animal has been in New South Wales for a continuous period of at least 3 months,
- an animal in the custody of a council (including in a council pound), the Animal Welfare League NSW, The Cat Protection Society of NSW Inc. or RSPCA,
- an animal in the custody of an organisation approved by the Director-General, for the purposes of this clause, by order published in the Gazette,
- an animal kept at a pet shop for the purposes of sale,
- an animal kept for the purposes of sale in the course of a business conducted at a booth or stall in a market or at a fair,
- a greyhound registered in accordance with the rules made in relation to greyhound racing under the Greyhound Racing Act 2009,
- a dog that is ordinarily used by a police officer on official duty,
- (1) a dog that is ordinarily used on official duty by a correctional officer (within the meaning of the Crimes
(Administration of Sentences) Act 1999),
- a dog used by a Commonwealth officer on official duty,
- an animal in the custody of an accredited research establishment within the meaning of the Animal Research Act 1985, or the holder of an animal research authority or an animal supplier's licence within the meaning of that Act, for purposes in connection with animal research, as authorised under that Act,
- an animal kept at a licensed animal display establishment within the meaning of the Exhibited Animals Protection Act 1986 and lawfully exhibited in accordance with that Act,
- a working dog that is ordinarily kept in a part of the Western Division of the State that is not within a local government area,
- a working dog that is ordinarily kept on land categorised as farmland for the purposes of Part 3 of Chapter 15 of the Local Government Act 1993.
Animals covered under these exemptions are not required to be identified or registered.
Any animal which is seized and taken into the custody of a Council pound or animal shelter must be microchipped and lifetime registered before being returned to its original owner. This requirement overrides any exemptions.