The laws for animal control which Council enforces are set under State government legislation. All animals must be confined to the land in which they are kept by adequate fencing.
The Dog Act 1976 and the Cat Act 2011 are the main laws affecting animal owners in the Shire of Northam. For assistance please contact the Rangers on 9622 7267 (which is available after hours for emergencies only).
The following regulations must be adhered to by all dog owners:
- All dogs over three months of age must be registered. Failure to register your dog may result in a $200.00 penalty under the Dog Act 1976.
- In addition to the registration tag, dogs must wear an identification tag with the dog's name and the owners current telephone number.
- All dogs registered for the first time or who have transfer of ownership must be microchipped.
- All dangerous dogs, restricted breeds and security dogs must be microchipped.
- By 1 November 2015 all dogs must be microchipped.
- Only two dogs are allowed on each property. If an owner would like to have more than two dogs, special permits must be applied for from Council before this can occur.
- In public places, dogs must be restrained on a leash or a spot fine may be imposed.
- In addition to the registration tag, dogs must wear an identification tag with the dog's name and owners current phone number.
Dog Registration Fees
Dog Registration Fees
*Working dogs 1/4 fee; Concession 1/2 fee applies
If dogs without registration tags, ID tags or a microchip are found wandering they will be impounded. Wandering dogs will also be impounded if if the owner cannot be contacted or there is a record of previoius offences. Fines and fees for impounding and sustenance must be paid before a dog will be released from the pound, with unregistered dogs having to be registered before release. Dogs are only impounded for 72 hours, after which tehy will be made available for rehoming.
Ranger Services fully appreciates that a barking dog can often severely disrupt people's lives and erode their quality of life. However, the laws relating to an alleged dog nuisance are prescribed by State Legislation and Local Authorities are bound to follow that process.
Dogs bark for a reason and dogs that bark habitually suggest that something is not quite right. Some breeds will bark more than others, however the most common causes of excessive barking are:
- boredom and loneliness
- confinement and isolation
- lack of exercise and activity
- lack of training
- separation anxiety
- specific stimuli, e.g. people or vehicles passing by the property, other dogs, cats or native wildlife
- a health problem
In many cases, excessive barking will occur during the owner's absence and more often than not, the owner may be completely oblivious of the problem. With this in mind, a friendly approach should be taken. If the complainant approaches the dog owner in a courteous informative and neighbourly manner, both parties can work together to solve the problem. If all reasonable steps have been taken by communicating with the owner and the problem has not been solved, call Ranger Services to discuss the matter further.
As a dog owner, you are responsible for ensuring that your dog is not creating a public nuisance by barking excessively. The on-the-spot fine for allowing your dog to bark persistently is $100. If taken to court, the fine could be up to $2,000. Please consider the impact of your dog's behaviour on your neighbours.
Restricted Dog Breeds
The Dog (Restricted Breeds) Regulations 2002 were gazetted on 22 March 2002. The Legislation is provided for under Section 53 of the Dog Act 1976 and came into force on 22 April 2002. These Regulations apply provisions similar to those currently imposed on dogs declared dangerous to those breeds of dog prohibited from importation under Commonwealth Legislation.
Under the Legislation a "restricted breed dog" is defined as a breed whose importation into Australia is prohibited under the Commonwealth Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956. At present this includes:
- dogo Argentina (Argentinian fighting dog);
- filo Brasileiro (Brazilian fighting dog);
- Japanese tosa;
- American pit bull terrier;
- Pit bull terrier breeds; and
- Perro de Canario also known as Presa Canario or Canary Dog.
The regulations also provide for a restricted breed dog to include any dog of a mixed breed that visibly contains any of the abovementioned prohibited breeds.
The Regulations include provisions relating to:
- Dogs to wear specified collars indicating a dangerous dog and property access points to display signs indicating dangerous dog. The regulation provides that the owner of a restricted breed dog must display a sign conforming to that provided in the Third Schedule Part 3 of the Dog Regulations 1976 at all entrances to the premises where the dog is ordinarily kept. That is, a sign must conform to the same specifications as applying to dangerous dog signs.
- Escape-proof and child-proof fencing. The regulation provides that the owner of a restricted breed dog is to provide an enclosure in which a restricted breed dog is to be kept that is capable of preventing a young child from entering the enclosure and which prevents the dog from escaping from the premises. The provision applies whether or not the enclosure is at the premises at which the dog is ordinarily kept.
- A requirement by the owner to leash and muzzle the dog while in public places;
- Persons in charge in public places must not be under 18 years of age;
- A maximum of two restricted dogs per person without a permit from the Council;
- Owners must be 18 years of age or over;
- Compulsory notification to a prospective owner that the dog is a restricted breed dog;
- Compulsory notification to local government if the dog escapes, dies or there is a change in ownership; and
- Extra powers for seizure and destruction.
Where there is any breach of the Dog (Restricted Breeds) Regulation 2002 Section 53 of the Dog Act 1976, there are provisions for a maximum penalty of $5,000. It also provides for the Chief Vetinary Officer of the Department of Agriculture to certify that a dog is of a restricted breed for prosecution purposes.
For further information see www.warangers.asn.au and select the header ANIMALS to Dangerous Dogs / Restricted Breeds
In accordance with the Cat Act 2011, all domestic cats aged six months and older are required to be:
- sterilised (unless used for breeding by a registered breeder)
- registered with the Shire of Northam
- Wear a registration tag.
Owners are responsible for ensuring their cats do not wander and cause nuisance.
Only two cats are able to be kept one property. Persons wishing to keep more than two cats must make application to the Shire of Northam.
Cat Registration Fees
Cat Registration Fees
*Concession 1/2 fee.
WILDLIFE & FERAL ANIMALS
As a first instance all reports on wildlife should be referred to the relevant Government department.
Bees, Foxes and Rabbits
To be referred to the Department of Agriculture on 9690 2000.
All reports in relation to native animals are to be referred to the Department Parks and Wildlife on 9334 0292.
If either of the above departments are unable to help Ranger Services may, depending on the circumstances, be made available to assist by:
- Removing snakes from within buildings in life threatening situations
- Relocating native wildlife to natural reserves
- Taking injured wildlife to appropriate carers.
STOCK & OTHER ANIMAL COMPLAINTS
Straying stock wandering on streets or in public open spaces are to be reported to Ranger Services. When making a complaint the following information is required:
- Your full name, address and telephone number
- Type, number and location of stock straying
- Time/s and date/s of incidents
- Where they came from (if known)
Ill treated and/or abandoned animals are the responsibility of the RSPCA and all incidents of this nature should be referred directly to them on 1300 278 3589 (1300 CRUELTY) which is the national cruelty hotline.
Poultry, rodents or possum complaints are to be referred to the Shire of Northam Environmental Health Officer on 9622 6131 or 9622 6144.
For further information, please contact the Ranger Services on 9622 7267, the Shire of Northam on 9622 6100 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.