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Companion Animals

As a Companion Animal owner you have a responsibility to keep your dog and cat under control. The NSW Companion Animals Act 1998 helps people and companion animals live together.

What must I do as a Companion Animal owner?

As a Companion Animal owner you must:

  • Register your Companion Animal with Council. All dogs must wear a tag attached to a collar containing your address and phone number.
  • When outside your property, keep your dog on a leash. The leash must be held by someone who can always control the dog. Don‘t let a child walk a big dog unsupervised. Mosman Council has established leash-free areas where Companion Animals may run free.
  • Pick up after your Companion Animal when it defecates on public land, depositing it in the toilet, compost or dog bin. Do not allow your Companion Animal to defecate in the gutter or on the roadway. Owners are strongly encouraged when exercising their Companion Animal to take with them a small bag to assist in this responsibility. Mosman Council has free deposit bags available at both local Veterinary Clinics, the Civic Centre and public reserves.
  • Make sure your Companion Animal does not enter school grounds without written permission from the Principal, shopping centres or get within 10 metres of children‘s playground equipment.

Where can I exercise my dog off the leash in Mosman?

Mosman has areas where dogs may be exercised either on or off the leash:

Whilst off the leash the dog must at all times be under the effective control of a competent person. Always keep watch on your animal. Mosman Council has prohibited dogs from all other parks, reserves, ovals and beaches.

A dog must be on the leash at all other times whilst outside your property.

What happens if I don‘t follow these rules?

You may be fined or alternatively an On The Spot Infringement Notice may be issued. Council officers may also impound your dog if it is found unleashed in a public place or on another person‘s property. You have 14 days (if a registered dog) or 7 days (if an unregistered dog) to claim it from the Council‘s pound located at Cremorne Veterinary Clinic (104 Spofforth Street, Cremorne, phone 9953 1090). If you don‘t, the dog can be sold or may unfortunately be put down.

Am I responsible if my Companion Animal attacks?

Yes, under the Companion Animals Act you may be responsible for any injury or damage caused by your Companion Animal if it attacks a person or animal.

If your Companion Animal has attacked outside your property you may:

  • be made liable for any injury to a person or animal or damage to clothing, whether or not you are at fault;
  • be fined;
  • be ordered to take additional steps to control your dog (such as fencing your property effectively);
  • have your dog declared dangerous; or
  • be ordered to have your dog destroyed.

If your dog has attacked on your own property the Council may have your dog declared dangerous.

What is a dangerous dog?

A Council may declare your dog dangerous if it has attacked a person or animal, or repeatedly threatened to attack. Before a Council decides to declare your dog dangerous it will notify you and give you an opportunity to give grounds why your dog should not be declared dangerous. The Council must consider your objections before making a declaration. You have 28 days to appeal to the Local Court against the declaration.

What must I do if my dog is declared dangerous?

Once your dog is declared dangerous strict controls apply. You must:

  • restrain the dog when on your own land to prevent it from attacking any person or animal and keep it in a childproof enclosure;
  • erect signs on your property saying “Warning – Dangerous Dog” which are clearly visible from outside the property;
  • muzzle your dog when in public;
  • leash your dog at all times when outside your property (there are no exceptions);
  • follow other requirements relating to temporary care of the Companion Animal and notify Council of certain events; and
  • have your dog desexed if not already.

If you do not follow these requirements, or if your dangerous dog attacks a person or animal on or outside your property you may be fined up to $11,000.

What if my Companion Animal was provoked into attacking?

The Companion Animals Act recognises that a dog may be provoked into attacking. This includes a situation where a dog is being teased or being treated cruelly; a dog responding to an attack on its owner or member of the owner‘s family; or a dog responding to a trespasser. If this is the case, the measures in the Companion Animals Act will not apply. A responsible owner or parent can prevent Companion Animal attacks in the first place. Children are especially at risk and must be supervised closely when around dogs.

Other offences

If you have repeatedly ignored your responsibilities under the Companion Animals Act and have been twice convicted of an offence, under the Act, a Local Court has the power to disqualify you from owning a dog for up to 2 years.

If you deliberately set your dog onto another person and cause injury, very serious penalties apply under the Crimes Act. You may be sentenced to imprisonment for up to 6 months and/or fined.

What other laws affect my Companion Animal?

The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979 also contains laws that affect companion animals.

Contact the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) for further advice.

What can I do if my dog won‘t stop barking?

Barking dogs are the most common complaint reported to Council. The onus is on the owner of the dog to remedy the situation.

  • Barkbusters may be able to assist you to stop your dog from constantly barking. For further information contact Freecall 1800 067 710.
  • DogTech Dog Training are available for in-home training. Telephone 1300 650 739.

There are many other ways in which you can care for your dog responsibly, such as training and having it vaccinated and desexed.


Cats are a great pet but owning a cat comes with responsibilities to protect our native animals. While the Companion Animals Act does not contain any requirement for your cat to be kept inside, or a cat curfew, cat owners are encouraged to keep their cat inside at night as this can provide many benefits to both the cat itself and protect our native animals.

Many kinds of native wildlife are more active or more vulnerable to hunting at night. There is also evidence that cats hunt more during the night than during the day so by keeping your cat inside at night you can help reduce the number of native animals that are killed in your area.

While it may be difficult to change the behaviour of grown cats if you start early kittens can easily become accustomed to staying inside at night. By taking these simple steps you can do your bit to protect native animals.

Helpful Contacts

Last updated Monday 12 July 2021
Last updated Monday 12 July 2021