The Dog Act 1976
It is a requirement of the Dog Act 1976 (the Act) for the owner of a dog that has reached three months of age to:
- Register their dog with the council in which they are ordinarily kept
- Ensure that when their dog is in a public place it is wearing a collar with the dog's registration tag securely fixed
- Microchip their dog unless exempted by a veterinary certificate stating the implantation of a chip may affect the health and welfare of the dog (it is an offence to transfer ownership of a dog that has reached three months of age and that is not microchipped)
- Ensure that when their dog is in a public place, other than a prescribed off-leash dog exercise area, it is held by a person who is capable of controlling the dog, or securely tethered for a temporary purpose by means of a chain, cord, leash or harness
Rangers are authorised to enforce all provisions of the Act and may infringe and/or prosecute dog owners who choose not to comply with any of the requirements of the Act.
Owners may register their dogs for one year, three years or for lifetime. The City recommends lifetime registration for all new dogs as a means of ensuring their registration remains current, and to reduce costs for the owner over the life of the dog. To register a dog the owner must be at least 18 years of age.
If you move house, even if you remain in the same local government district, you should advise the council where your dog is registered of your change of address. If you leave the district but remain in Western Australia you should transfer your dog’s registration to the new council free of charge.
Registrations expire on 31 October in the year in which they are due for renewal.
The fee for the initial registration or renewal of the registration of a dog, as prescribed by the Dog Regulations 2013 is:
- $50 for an unsterilised dog for *one year ($20 if it is sterilised)
- $120 for an unsterilised dog for three years ($42.50 if it is sterilised)
- $250 for an unsterilised dog for lifetime ($100 if it is sterilised)
* If an application for a new one year registration is made after 31 May for registration until 31 October of the same year the fee is $25 for an unsterilised dog, and $12.50 for a sterilised dog.
The fee for a pensioner who is the holder of a currently valid pensioner concession card is 50% of the fees shown above.
The owner of an unsterilised dog, who subsequently sterilises their dog during a period in which it is registered, may be entitled to a refund of a portion of the registration fee. Please contact the City for details.
Under the Act, dangerous dogs (declared and restricted breed) may only be registered for one year. The registration fee for a dangerous dog is $50 regardless of whether the dog is sterilised or not. There is no discount or concession available on this fee. In addition to the registration fee, owners of declared dangerous dogs are required to pay a $100 annual fee (with their registration) to cover the cost of an annual compliance inspection conducted by Rangers.
Responsible Dog Ownership Checklist
As a responsible owner you should ensure your dog:
- Is registered (to be registered your dog must also be microchipped) and that these details are kept up to date
- Is easily identifiable by wearing a collar with its registration tag attached
- Is confined to your property and not permitted to wander in public
- Is vaccinated
- Is exercised regularly and generally cared for
- Has access to shelter, food and water
- Does not cause a nuisance to your neighbours by barking or by behaving in a manner contrary to the general interest of the community
Prescribed Number of Dogs is Two
The maximum number of dogs permitted to be kept on any premises without a permit is two. Should you wish to keep three or more dogs on any premises you are required to obtain a permit from the City. To apply for a permit to keep more than two dogs please complete and submit the Application for Permit to Keep More than Two Dogs form. There is an administrative fee payable when submitting the form.
It is a condition that all dogs that are to be kept at the premises subject of the application are registered and microchipped prior to approval being granted. The application is subject to the applicant demonstrating their ability to contain the dogs on the premises on which they are kept, and that the premises is in good order and a clean and sanitary condition. When assessing the application, Rangers will carry out a physical inspection to ensure compliance with these requirements.
Barking, whimpering, growling, howling, and yelping are normal sounds dogs use for communication. When these noises are made excessively by dogs in close proximity to neighbours, the constant noise can become a nuisance problem.
Dogs do not bark without a reason. Barking can occur when the dog is excited or bored, when it is threatened, seeking its owner’s attention (even if they are not home), or in response to a distant sound or signal. It is the responsibility of the dog owner to ensure their dog does not cause a nuisance that persistently occurs or continues to such a degree that it unreasonably interferes with the peace, comfort or convenience of any person.
To stop a dog from barking excessively its owner needs to first find out when and why the dog is barking. The problem should then be treated in the early stages, as prolonged and habitual barking is very difficult and time consuming to correct. Further information for dog owners on how to deal with their dog’s excessive barking is available on the RSPCA website.
If you are experiencing a persistently barking dog, please contact Rangers on 9781 0444 for further information.
The City of Busselton treats reports of dog attacks very seriously. Under the Act if a dog attacks or chases a person or animal, whether or not physical injury is caused, every person liable for the control of the dog commits an offence.
A person liable for the control of a dog that has attacked may be liable for a fine of up to $10,000. Further, if the attacking dog is a dangerous dog (declared or restricted breed) the fine can be up to $20,000. In addition to financial penalties, and possible imprisonment, for the person liable for the control of the dog, the attacking dog may be declared dangerous or subject to a Court order, be destroyed.
To reduce the chance of a dog attack:
- Always keep your dog under effective control whether in a public place or at home
- If you know your dog is unsociable around people, dogs or other animals consider fitting a muzzle when in public
- Always supervise young children around dogs; keep them away from dogs that are sleeping, eating or with their puppies
- Educate your children how to behave around dogs
If you are the victim of a dog attack, in the first instance if necessary seek medical or veterinary treatment for any injuries, and then contact Rangers on 9781 0444 to report the attack.
Wandering dogs may attack people, wildlife or other animals and are at risk of being hit by a vehicle or causing a traffic accident.
Dog owners have a legal responsibility to ensure their dogs are not allowed to wander in the community or to trespass on private property without the consent of the owner or occupier of that property. The best way to prevent your dog from wandering is to keep it securely contained within your property by means of adequate fencing and gates. Fines may apply for people who do not adequately contain their dogs.
Report stray dogs to Rangers on 9781 0444 and if possible, please try to hold or confine the dog until a Ranger is able to collect it.
Under the City's Dogs Local Law 2014 it is an offence for a dog to excrete in a thoroughfare or public place, or on private property without the consent of the occupier. The person liable for the control of the dog does not commit an offence if they immediately remove the excreta and dispose of it in an appropriate rubbish bin.
The City encourages responsible dog ownership by providing dog bag dispensers in key dog exercise areas throughout the district. It should be noted however, that it remains the dog owner’s responsibility to clean up after their dog. It is not an excuse not to remove excreta because a dispenser is empty or not provided where you are exercising your dog.