Dog owner fines and offences
If you don't keep control of your dog, allow a dog into a restricted area or abuse or neglect an animal, you can be fined or sent to prison — and banned from owning dogs in the future.
Check with your local council for information about dog registration and fines during COVID-19.
Fines and penalties
If you don’t look after your dog properly, you can be fined by a dog control officer or dog ranger.
You can be fined $750 if you:
- obstruct a dog control officer
- refuse or fail to give information about yourself or your dog
- fail to supply or give false information about yourself or your dog
- give false information about the death of a dog
- own a dog when you’re banned from having one
- release a dog that’s been seized or impounded.
You can be fined $500 if you:
- mislead a buyer about a dangerous dog
- attempt to hide the identity of a dog by changing, removing, swapping or counterfeiting its registration details.
You can be fined $300 if you don’t:
- register your dog
- get your dog microchipped
- control your dog properly after it’s been classified as a dangerous dog
- look after your dog properly — including making sure it has food, water, shelter and exercise.
You can be fined $200 if you don’t:
- keep your dog under control and on its leash in a public place
- keep a barking dog quiet after a noise complaint.
You can be fined $100 if you don’t report:
- the sale or change of ownership of a dog
- a change of the dog’s registered address.
Specific council fines and penalties
Councils can also create other laws specific to your local area.
If you’re found guilty of a more serious offence, much larger fines apply and you can be sent to prison.
Up to $10,000 fine, 1 year in prison or both
You can be fined up to $10,000 and be sentenced to a year in prison if you allow a dog to enter a national park or other controlled area where dogs are banned from entry.
Up to $50,000 fine, 1 year in prison or both
You can be fined up to $50,000 and be sentenced to a year in prison if you:
- organise a dog fight
- watch a dog fight
- brand a dog causing pain and suffering
- confine or transport a dog in a way that causes pain and suffering
- mutilate a dog, for example ear cropping
- have major surgery done on a dog by anyone other than a vet
- perform any act that causes unreasonable or unnecessary pain or distress
- abandon or neglect a dog.
Up to $75,000 fine, 3 years in prison or both
You can be fined up to $75,000 and be sentenced to 3 years in prison if you recklessly or carelessly mistreat a dog.
Up to $100,000 fine, 5 years in prison or both
You can be fined up to $100,000 and be sentenced to 5 years in prison if you deliberately mistreat a dog resulting in death, serious injury or permanent disability.
Businesses can also be fined up to $500,000 if they’re involved in mistreating a dog.
Bans on dog ownership
Councils can ban you from owning a dog for up to 5 years if you’re:
- fined 3 times within a 2-year period
- found guilty of a more serious offence.
If you’re convicted in court, you can be banned from owning a dog for any period of time — including a lifetime ban.
Courts and councils have the right to seize any animal you own if you’re currently banned from owning an animal, or if the animal is considered to be at risk.