Pet Ownership

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Deciding to get a Pet

Deciding to become a pet owner requires very considered thought and planning. All potential pet owners need to be sure they are really ready to take on the responsibility of owning a pet before going ahead and making a choice of breed of pet.

The first question you must ask yourself is "Can I look after a pet properly?" If the answer is "Yes", the next step is to make the right choice of pet in accordance with your lifestyle and priorities.


The average lifespan of a small dog is 11 years and, 12 years for a cat. This means pet owners need to be prepared to dedicate this many years (maybe even more) to properly looking after their pet.

If you are part of a family, the decision to get a pet should be a combined one, as all family members will come into contact with the pet, and should be involved in looking after it.

Considerations before becoming a pet owner 

  • Are you prepared to care for a dog/cat for over 10 years?
  • Can you afford to own a pet with costs such as registration, vaccination, general health care, vet bills, food, grooming, de-sexing, obedience training, and boarding?
  • Do you have time to care for a pet? eg: daily exercise, grooming, obedience and play.Who will look after your pet when you're away?Do you live in a suitable location and type of housing for a pet?
  • Do you have adequate space for the pet you are considering?
  • What hours do you work, and will the pet have any company during the day?
  • If renting accommodation, are you permitted to own a pet?
  • If buying a puppy/kitten, can you provide care during the day and meals at regular intervals until it is six months of age?
  • Does a pet fit in with your lifestyle, activities, sporting pursuits and priorities? 

Dog and Cat Registration

All dogs and cats, three months of age and over, must be microchipped and registered. Renewals are due 10 April each year.

Once your pet is registered, yearly renewal notices will be sent out. You can renew your pet registration by completing and returning the yearly renewal notice that will be sent to you or by bringing your yearly renewal notice with payment to the Council Offices.

If you choose to sterilise your pet, you must provide with your application a Veterinary Certificate or Statutory Declaration.

Registration Fees
  • Unsterilised Microchipped Dog/Cat $126.00
  • Pension Unsterilised Microchipped Dog/Cat $63.00
  • Sterilised & Microchipped Dog/Cat $42.00
  • Pension Sterilised & Microchipped $21.00
  • Dog used for working stock exempt from microchipping $42
  • Pension Card Holders – 50% discount applies on the above fees. Pensioner discount applies to Commonwealth Pensioner Concession Care, Department of Veterans' Affairs TPI or War Widow card holders only. (No reduction available on Health Care Cards). Documentation should be forwarded to support the application

Failure to register your pet will result in a  fine of $317.

Restricted Breeds

The Domestic Animals Act 1994 requires specific controls for the keeping of "Restricted Breed" dogs. The Victorian Government has made legislation to restrict the following dog breeds:

  • American Pit Bull Terrier (or Pit Bull Terrier)
  • Perro de Presa Canario (or Presa Canario)
  • Fila Brasileiro
  • Dogo Argentino
  • Japanese Tosa

The maximum permitted, unless a local law permit has been granted by the Council, is 2 dogs and 3 cats on land less than 2 hectares in area or 4 dogs and 4 cats on land of 2 hectares or more in area.

If you own more than the above numbers of animals per hectare, owners are required to contact Council on 03 5382 9774 to apply for a permit.

Desexing Your Pet

There are many reasons why de-sexing your pet is a responsible choice for pet owners. 

Population Control

  • Each year animal care organisations euthanise thousands of unwanted pets.
  • De-sexing your pet will avoid the problems of unwanted puppies and kittens.  

Positive Behavioural Changes

  • In males: Are less likely to roam, 90% stop entirely. Are less likely to urinate in undesirable places,  50% stop. Castration reduces the sexual drive and ability in most dogs.  60% stop mounting people. Display less dominant behaviour. Are less aggressive towards other male dogs. 60% stop fighting. Are less aggressive towards people, reducing the risk of attacks. 
  • In females: Prevents oestrous behaviour (on heat). Male dogs will not be attracted and will not be a nuisance. 

Medical Benefits    De-sexing your pet has also shown longer term medical benefits. 

  • In males: Are unlikely to develop common prostate diseases which can be fatal. Approximately 60% of dogs that are not desexed develop prostatic disease. 
  • In females:Will not develop serious uterine infections which are common in older female dogs that are not desexed. 
  • Desexing before the first season greatly reduces the risk of female dogs developing breast cancer which is fatal in 50% of cases. 
  • Males and Females: Greatly reduces the incidence of fighting in cats and associated infections and injuries such as feline AIDS, which is spread by biting. Desexed dogs and cats are less likely to roam and therefore, are less likely to become road victims.


An excellent way of permanently identifying your pet is to have a microchip implanted under its skin.

Microchips are encoded with an identification number which can be read by scanners. If your pet loses its collar and tag, Council's Community Safety officers will still be able to find out where it comes from and contact you. 

Microchipping is now required for all dogs and cats registered with the Council for first time registration.  The Cat or Dog must be microchipped prior to registration, due to amendments to the Domestic Animal Act. Working farm dogs are exempt from Microchipping but must be registered with the Horsham Rural City Council. 

All dogs and cats, three months of age and over, must be microchipped and registered. 

Renewals are due 10 April each year.

Once your pet is registered, yearly renewal notices will be sent out. You can renew your pet registration by completing and returning the yearly renewal notice that will be sent to you or by bringing your yearly renewal notice with payment to the Council Offices. 

If you choose to sterilise your pet, which Council encourages, you must provide with your initial application a Veterinary Certificate or Statutory Declaration. 

The Horsham Rural City Council has "Lifetime Tags" in use, your pet tag and registration number is for the life of the pet and is not replaced each year upon renewal. If your pet loses or damages its Lifetime Tag, replacement tags will be issued free of charge by contacting Council. Please note, it is an offence for pets to be found not wearing a Lifetime Tag.

All dogs and cats newly registered with Council must be microchipped before Council can accept the registration; this includes previously registered dogs and cats transferring from other Councils. Microchipping certificate must be provided with an application form. Microchipping will assist with the recovery if your pet is lost. 

Failure to do so could result in an on the spot fine. From 1 May, 2007, all cat and dog owners are required to have their pets microchipped before being registered to comply with State Government legislation (Domestic Animals Act 1994). This does not apply to pets that are already registered with Council. 

Preparing your Animals for Emergency

An emergency could happen at any time, so it is critical you prepare now to ensure your animals are protected. There are a variety of disasters that may place your animals in danger, including bushfires, extreme weather and storms. The Council is here to offer you help and support to ensure your animals are prepared for an emergency.  We hope the information below is helpful and encourages you to not only prepare for an evacuation now, but implement a practice run through of your emergency evacuation plan before it is needed.

In the event of a disaster, you will need to act quickly, so a strategic plan for your animals is critical.

If you require more information on preparing your animals for an emergency, contact Council on 03 5382 9777, or visit