Microchipping and Registration

The Companion Animals Act 1998, which came into effect in September 1998, replacing the Dog Act 1966, is designed to benefit pets, their owners and the wider community.  Numerous changes were recently made to the Companion Animals Act 1998 which came into effect in November 2013.

Amongst other things, the Companion Animals Act requires cats and dogs to be identified by microchip by the age of 12 weeks and lifetime registered by the age of 6 months. The permanent identification and lifetime registration system, which came into effect on 1 July 1999, greatly assists authorities in returning lost and injured animals to their owners. It provides NSW Councils with a more effective means of keeping track of cats and dogs for the benefit of the wider community.

Registering your Companion Animal - a two step process

Step 1 - Microchipping your animal

Under the Companion Animals Act, cats and dogs, which reside in NSW, must be identified by microchip by 12 weeks of age. Microchipping your animal is the first step in the registration process.

When an animal is microchipped its identification details are entered onto the NSW Companion Animals Register. A certificate is issued to the owner receipting the entry of their animal's details.

Microchips are about the same size as a large grain of rice. They are very safe. Your pet will feel little pain as the chip is inserted quickly and safely under the skin between the shoulders.

When the chip is scanned, a number displayed on the scanner will be used to identify your cat or dog.

Microchipping can be arranged through your local vet or authorised implanter.

Step 2 - Registering your animal

Once you have microchipped your animal, you then need to lifetime register it by 6 months of age. Infringements may be issued to owners of animals whose animal is older than 6 months of age and is not registered.

Lifetime registrations can be made at any Council, the RSPCA or the Animal Welfare League or online at www.petregistry.nsw.gov.au.  Proof of desexing must be provided to be eligible for the reduced registration fee.

For information on costs and documentation required please contact Council on 6333 6211.

SMS reminder service

Council has a service which sends SMS reminders to dog and cat owners to register their pets.

Registering your pet and updating the contact details, if required, is the best way to ensure your pet is returned to you if they ever become lost. Pet owners are encouraged to have their cat or dog desexed before registering it. Having the pet desexed prior to registration helps to reduce straying, fighting and aggression and antisocial behaviour, such as spraying to mark territory. It also helps to reduce the number of unwanted pets born each year.

Pet owners are encouraged to register their cat or dog online at www.petregistry.nsw.gov.au, which is a database of registered cats or dogs that live in NSW. The registration fee is a once-only payment, which covers the cat or dog for its lifetime in NSW, regardless of any changes in ownership. It is important to have the desexing certificate from your vet to access the discounted fees.”

Note for Cat Owners

  • If your cat was born, sold or given away after July 1999, it must be microchipped and lifetime registered through a local Council.
  • If you owned your cat before July 1999, you must identify your cat with a collar and tag or microchip. You do not have to register the cat.

Registration Exemptions

The only allowable registration exemptions are provided for in Section 16 of the Companion Animals Regulation:

A cat born before 1 July 1999, other than a cat whose ownership changes after that date,

An animal that is ordinarily kept outside New South Wales, but not if the animal has been in New South Wales for a continuous period of at least 3 months,

An animal in the custody of a council (including in a council pound), the Animal Welfare League NSW, The Cat Protection Society of NSW Inc. or RSPCA,

An animal in the custody of an organisation approved by the Director-General, for the purposes of this clause, by order published in the Gazette,

An animal kept at a pet shop for the purposes of sale,

An animal kept for the purposes of sale in the course of a business conducted at a booth or stall in a market or at a fair,

A greyhound registered in accordance with the rules made in relation to greyhound racing under the Greyhound Racing Act 2009,

A dog that is ordinarily used by a police officer on official duty,

  • a dog that is ordinarily used on official duty by a correctional officer (within the meaning of the Crimes (Administration of Sentences) Act 1999),
  • a dog used by a Commonwealth officer on official duty,
  • an animal in the custody of an accredited research establishment within the meaning of the Animal Research Act 1985, or the holder of an animal research authority or an animal supplier's licence within the meaning of that Act, for purposes in connection with animal research, as authorised under that Act,
  • an animal kept at a licensed animal display establishment within the meaning of the Exhibited Animals Protection Act 1986 and lawfully exhibited in accordance with that Act,
  • a working dog that is ordinarily kept in a part of the Western Division of the State that is not within a local government area,
  • a working dog that is ordinarily kept on land categorised as farmland for the purposes of Part 3 of Chapter 15 of the Local Government Act 1993. 

Animals covered under these exemptions are not required to be identified or registered.

Any animal which is seized and taken into the custody of a Council pound or animal shelter must be microchipped and lifetime registered before being returned to its original owner. This requirement overrides any exemptions.