Responsible pet ownership

Cat being scanned for a microchip

How many animals can you keep?

You can keep up to two dogs and up to two cats. Animals kept on farm land are exempt. See pages 27-28 of the Community Local Law 2017 for details.

Submit an Excess Animals Application to apply for a permit to keep more pets than listed above.

Requirement to contain with appropriate fencing Under the Domestic Animals Act 1994, dog owners are required to ensure that their dogs are securely contained to the property at all times, unless under effective control by way of having the dog attached to an appropriate lead or control apparatus, such as a body and/or head harness.

Council Animal Management Officers often receive reports relating to unstable or inappropriate fencing between properties where dogs or animals are kept.

Instances of dogs escaping yards/entering neighbouring properties often results in attacks on neighbouring pets or people. City of Ballarat does not enforce fencing requirements but can issue infringements for dogs at large and for non-serious injuries.

Council also prosecutes serious dog attack matters in the Magistrates Court of Victoria. If you own a dog or dogs, it is your responsibility to ensure that your dog is securely contained to your yard and that your neighbours and their pets are safe to enjoy their properties.

Dog owners should check their fences regularly and repair any small damages before they become an issue or hazard. The onus will fall on you if your dog escapes and is involved in an attack. If you are renting a property and are concerned about the fencing, you should contact your real estate agent or landlord.

Microchipping

microchip is different to animal registration. It provides a permanent form of identification regardless of which municipality you live in. It helps to quickly reunite you with lost or injured pets if they are found outside of Ballarat.

All cats and dogs being registered with us for the first time must also be microchipped. Your vet can help with a microchip if your pet does not have one.

Dogs on and off leads

Your dog must be kept on a lead at all times, unless you are in an area clearly signed as an off-lead area.

Dogs can be exercised off a lead in many reserves and parks, but they must remain under control and be continually supervised.

There are a number of dog parks in Ballarat you can take your dog to.

Dog attacks

Dogs are an important part of many City of Ballarat resident's lives - they can enrich our lives and bring us much joy.

Residents in the municipality are fortunate to have access to many off lead dog parks and on lead areas where they can enjoy their fur friend's company (see above).

Unfortunately, sometimes owners misunderstand or misread dog behaviour or dogs have not been adequately socialised, and attacks on other dogs or people can occur.

Dog attacks can have a serious impact on victims, their dogs and witnesses. These are investigated by our animal management officers. Our animal management officers also investigate dog attacks where the dog is not securely confined to its property - and is able to get out and rush up to people, barking and growling – or in more serious cases- attack and bite.

Animal Management Officers can conduct investigations when dog attacks are reported to Council. Investigations involve interviewing the attacking dog owner or person in care and control at the time of the attack, taking victim and witness statements and collating evidence regarding the incident. Attacking dog owners may be issued infringements or charged under the Domestic Animals Act 1994.

City of Ballarat prosecutes serious dog attack matters in the Magistrates Court of Victoria. Fines, convictions and orders to pay compensation can be ordered by a Magistrate. In very serious cases- you may receive a banning order from a court order- which means that you will be unable to be in care and control of a dog for a period of time.

It is very important to know your dog and check your fencing and watch them at all times when out in public so you can monitor if/when their behaviour changes.

If your dog is involved in a dog attack please contact City of Ballarat's Animal Management Officers on 5320 5500.

Cats

Cats fit into domestic life and routines easily and comfortably. They are however, predators by nature and will go looking for mates, defend territory and hunt wildlife, particularly during the dusk-to-dawn period.

What are the dangers of allowing your cat to roam at night?

At night your cat is most likely to:

  • attack wildlife
  • get hit by passing traffic
  • be injured or injure another cat in a fight
  • howl and annoy neighbours (especially during mating season)

How do I build cat proof fencing and cat enclosures?

A number of excellent cat enclosure products are available commercially. For cost effective DIY tips visit Agriculture Victoria's cat confinement enclosures and fencing.

Free cat desexing program

National Desexing Network, City of Ballarat, and participating vets are providing free desexing for household cats as part of the City of Ballarat desexing assistance program will open 1 January 2023. The program is available for City of Ballarat residents only.

The criteria includes:

  • Holders of pension, concession or health care cards
  • People on low incomes
  • People with large numbers of cats
  • Semi-owners willing to take responsibility for stray unowned cats

Due to overwhelming popularity and demand, the free cat desexing program is almost at capacity. The NDN will set up a waitlist and take names and numbers of those interested in case an opportunity becomes available.

Call 1300 368 992 for more information or visit the National Desexing Network website

Is there a cat curfew in Ballarat?

Yes, cat owners are required to keep their cats confined to their premises at night between sunset and sunrise. The curfew assists in minimising harm to the environment and wildlife, and reduces annoyance to neighbours.

If cats are not confined, they are at risk of being trapped and handed in to the pound. Owners will be asked to pay costs associated in reclaiming their cat and a fine may be issued for not complying with the curfew.

Animal infringements

If you have receive an animal infringement and believe you have a good reason for not paying the fine you may apply to appeal the infringement:

Animal Infringement Appeal

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