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Information for dog owners

Your responsibilities

Dogs are an important part of our community, culture and society. Ownership of a dog is a privilege. With this privilege comes a range of responsibilities in relation to the animal, the community and the environment.

The Companion Animals Act (the Act) regulates the keeping of dogs and outlines the responsibilities of dog owners. The Act is designed to protect pets, their owners, and the wider community from irresponsible pet ownership.

Cowra Council reminds all dog owners in the Cowra Shire of their responsibilities to ensure that they keep their dogs safe; well-cared for; and in a manner so they do not become a problem to the community.

Wandering dogs

A dog owner or person in charge of a dog must take all reasonable precautions to prevent that dog from escaping from the property on which it is being kept. If you fail to comply with this requirement, you may be issued a fine.

All dog owners are encouraged to regularly check fences and gates to ensure that their dog cannot escape their property.

If your dog is found wandering at large in a street or public place, Cowra Ranger Services can seize the dog and take it to Cowra Pound. Before an animal can be released from the pound, the animal must be microchipped, registered and all impounding fees paid.

Dogs in a public place

Whenever a dog is within a public place, it must be under the effective control of a competent person by means of an adequate chain, cord, or leash.

A child may not be able to control a large dog in a public place; therefore it is important that the person in charge of a dog has the ability to adequately control the animal.

A person who has control of more than 4 dogs is not considered to have those dogs under effective control.

Dogs are prohibited at all times in children's play areas, school grounds, childcare centres, shopping areas, wildlife protection areas, food preparation/consumption areas and public bathing areas. When a dog is in a public place, it must have a collar around its neck with a tag attached that shows the dog's name and the owner's address or phone number.

If your dog defecates in a public place, it is an offence not to remove the faeces immediately.

Want more information?

Contact Council's Environmental Services Department during normal business hours on (02) 6340 2040.

Off Leash Area

Cowra Shire currently has 2 designated off leash areas located at:

• Bill Robinson Park, located on the western side of the Lachlan River at Cowra. This facility includes dog agility equipment, jump-throughs, weave-poles, and a dog maze. The facility also has seating, drinking stations, and parking areas; and

• Cowra Peace Precinct off Sakura Avenue, Cowra

A dog must be on a leash prior to entering and leaving an off leash area. It is important to note that while a dog located within a designated off leash area does not have to be on a leash, the person in charge of the dog must still have adequate control of the animal and are still subject to penalties in the event that the dog is involved in a dog attack incident.

Dog attacks

Dog attacks usually occurred when dogs are allowed to wander unattended in public places. Dog owners should be aware that, their dog rushes at, attacks, bites, harasses, or chases any person or animal (other than vermin) – whether or not any injury is caused to the person or animal – it is considered as a dog attack incident.

An owner or person in charge of an attacking dog may be issued with a substantial fine. The dog may also be declared a dangerous, menacing or nuisance dog, which requires a number of specific control requirements that must be complied with.

Get Educated!

The NSW Government has three different programs designed to educate parents and children about how to interact safely with their pets:

1. 'We are Family' – for child and pet relationship from pregnancy to pre-school years.

2. 'Living Safely with Dogs' – for 4-5 year old pre-school children.

3. 'Living Safely with Pets' – for 5-8 year old school children.

Microchipping & Lifetime Registration

It is a requirement that all dogs be microchipped and registered. If you fail to comply with this requirement, you can be issued with a fine. There are, however exemption for greyhounds that are registered with the Greyhound Racing Authority, and working dogs.

Microchipping and registration is a two part process. Your dog has to be microchipped first before it can be registered. Pet owners are required to have their dog microchipped from 12 weeks of age or before being sold or given away – whichever occurs first.

Once you dog is microchipped the next step is to life-time register your dog by six months of age with Council.

It is also important to notify Council of any changes of address or change of ownership of your dog or if your dog dies.