Dog and Cat ownership

Ballina Shire Council has a Companion Animals Management Plan. The Plan acknowledges the importance of pets to many people and works with the community to promote responsible pet ownership, and to provide a healthy environment in which animals, their owners and the wider community can comfortably live:


Barking Dogs

Barking dogs are a common complaint made to Council. These matters are often very difficult to resolve because:

  • different people have different views about what is a noise nuisance. This varies from the location of the dog in relation to the person making the complaint; the noise tolerance level of the complainant; the type of barking and time/length of barking
  • gathering evidence and completing a barking dog diary is time consuming and difficult
  • Council Rangers require the person making the complaint to be a witness in Court and provide evidence if the matter is to proceed
  • the owners are often unaware that their dog is barking excessively

Council encourages people to discuss their concerns regarding nuisance barking with the owner of the dog before lodging a complaint with Council. The dog owner may not be aware their dog is barking, particularly if it is only when they are out. In most cases owners will want to do the right thing and will cooperate.

What can I do about my barking dog?

  • exercise your dog - dogs who have worked off their excess energy are less likely to bark from boredom (this could include walking your dog for at least 15 minutes each day)
  • play with your dog when you are home
  • make sure your dog receives veterinary attention when required
  • leave toys out for your dog to play with
  • make sure your dog has plenty of food, water and shelter from both the sun and rain
  • discipline your dog - take it to obedience school or puppy preschool and talk to your vet about what type of training courses are available.

But my dog still keeps on barking

  • confine your dog in the back yard, away from interference and/or provocation by passing traffic including pedestrians
  • restrict your dog's vision through the fence and/or gate
  • consider training, talk to specialists dog trainers and/or dog behaviourists
  • insulate the kennel against noise and weather
  • keep your dog inside or confined to the garage or a similar enclosure at night or when the barking occurs.

Anti-Barking Collars

If your dog continues to bark excessively despite the fact that you have tried all of the above suggestions you may consider purchasing an anti-barking collar. A citronella anti-barking collar has a microphone that picks up the barking noise and a mechanism triggers a spray of strong smelling citronella under the dog's nose which deters it from barking. Citronella does not harm the dog in any way.

Lodging a Barking Dog Complaint

Please note that two written complaints must be lodged regarding a barking dog before Council will take action. Along with your written complaint, you will need to complete the Barking Dog Diary and Information Sheet (pdf) for at least 14 days:

Barking Dog Resources

Roaming Dogs

It is an offence against the Companion Animals Act 1998 (the Act) for any dog to be outside its own property at any time, unless it is under the effective control of a competent person by means of an adequate chain, cord or leash, that is attached to the dog and is being held by (or secured to) the person that must be 16 years and older.

Under Section 16 of the Act, a person who owns a dog or is in charge of a dog, is guilty of an offence if a dog rushes at, attacks, bites, harasses, or chases any person or animal (other than vermin), whether or not any injury is caused to the person or animal.

Prevent your dog from roaming

For your dog’s safety, ensure that you have secure fencing so that your dog cannot roam the streets. Roaming pets are also at risk of being stolen, injured, hit by a vehicle, attacked by other animals, and may be more exposed to disease, parasites or poisons. All pets must wear a collar around their neck with a tag attached that shows name of animal and address or telephone number of the owner.

Dogs can get scared during fireworks displays and thunderstorms, please make sure your pets are confined securely to prevent them from running away or injuring themselves.

Impounded Animals

If your animal is impounded, Council has a new animal shelter for impounded animals and your pet will be cared for to a high standard whilst Council’s responsibility. However it is an unfamiliar environment for your pet so preventing it from being handed to or seized by a Ranger is the best action.

Fees and charges apply to all owners of animals that have been impounded. All impounded pets will need to be micro-chipped and lifetime registered prior to their release from the animal shelter to you.

  1. Rangers conduct patrols of local areas and any unattended dogs are likely to be impounded. In addition to this the owner of any dog may be issued with a fine exceeding $330 for allowing their dog to be in the street and not on a leash.

Nuisance Dogs

The Companion Animals Act 1998 states that a dog is a nuisance if the dog:

  • is habitually at large, or
  • makes a noise, by barking or otherwise, that persistently occurs or continues to such a degree or extent that it unreasonably interferes with the peace, comfort or convenience of any person in any other premises, or
  • repeatedly defecates on property (other than a public place) outside the property on which it is ordinarily kept, or
  • repeatedly runs at or chases any person, animal (other than vermin and, in relation to an animal, otherwise than in the course of droving, tending, working or protecting stock) or vehicle, or
  • endangers the health of any person or animal (other than vermin and, in relation to an animal, otherwise than in the course of droving, tending, working or protecting stock), or
  • repeatedly causes substantial damage to anything outside the property on which it is ordinarily kept.

To report a nuisance dog, please provide as many details as you can about the dog including location and offensive behaviour and contact Council Rangers ph 6686 1210.

Dog Attacks

Did you know that most dog attacks reported to Councils happen when dogs are off lead? Keeping your dog on a leash can help keep you, your dog and other people safe, and save a lot of pain and heartache. Even dogs that are normally passive can bite if they feel frightened, anxious or threatened. Any dog can be become unsettled by an approaching stranger or another dog. When your dog is on a leash, you have far better control of it and help avoid distressing or tragic situations.

The simplest way dog owners can minimise and hopefully prevent dog attacks is to have their dog on a leash at all times when in a public place and ensure they have good voice control of their dog when in a designated off-leash park (if your dog does not come back to you immediately every time you call it, you should not be letting it off the leash until you have effectively trained this skill).

If you are a victim or witness to a dog attack or are the owner of a dog that has been involved in an attack, please reach out to Council Rangers on 6686 1210 for information on what to do next.

What is considered an attack?

The Companion Animals Act 1998 states that "If a dog rushes at, attacks, bites, harasses or chases any person or animal (other than vermin), whether or not any injury is caused to the person or animal, the owner of the dog, or if the owner is not present at the time of the offence and another person who is of or above the age of 16 years is in charge of the dog at that time—that other person, is guilty of an offence."

No matter how serious the attack is, it is very important to report it to Council. To commence a dog attack investigation, Council will require details of the incident, people and dogs involved,  and a formal statement of evidence may be required to ensure the matter can be dealt with appropriately.

Often, these investigations take time to obtain all the details from numerous parties involved, and Council is aware of public safety and the emotional consequences of a dog attack.

Once all the information and evidence is collected, Council's Rangers  will make recommendations on the action to be taken, which may include any of the following: 

  • No action taken
  • Verbal discussions
  • Formal Warnings
  • Nuisance Dog Order
  • Menacing Dog Order
  • Dangerous Dog Order
  • Fines
  • Court Prosecution

Formal Statements

Rangers can provide a Statement form for you to provide the following information:

  • WHEN the attack took place, including exact time and date 
  • WHERE the attack took place (verge / footpath / road / reserve or park / private address), which direction were you heading and which way the attacking dog came from
  • WHO was involved in the attack, providing names and addresses where known, or descriptions of people and dogs involved (colour / markings / sex / breed)
  • WHAT happened, immediately before, during and after the attack, especially the actions of the attacking dog, describe any injuries you / your dog received and any medical / vet treatment that was provided.

Be a responsible cat owner

Responsible cat ownership includes proper housing, feeding, control, care and breeding. Cat owners also need to be aware of the problems which can occur if their pets are allowed to roam.

Cats can cause considerable damage to the environment if allowed to wander. If you own a cat, you are encouraged to keep them inside at night to reduce the chances of fighting and hunting other animals. It is also a good idea for your cat to wear a bell on its collar to warn other wildlife.

  • make sure your cat is identified with a collar, tag and microchip
  • make sure your cat is registered with Council so it can be identified
  • keep your cat indoors at night
  • desex your cat as early as possible
  • clean up after your pet

Nuisance Cats

Many people do not like the presence of a cat in their backyard for a range of reasons, as the cat may be noisy, may defecate in their yard, may attack their pets, damage property or kill wildlife.

Every individual will have a different view as to what constitutes a nuisance cat. Under the Companion Animals Act 1998 a cat is a nuisance if it:

  • makes noise that persistently occurs or continues to such a degree that it unreasonably interferes with the peace, comfort or convenience of any person in any other premise
  • repeatedly damages anything outside the property on which it is ordinarily kept.

If you have issues with a cat, Council recommends you discuss your concerns with the cat owner first. In most cases owners will want to do the right thing and will cooperate. The Nuisance Cat Information Package (pdf) may assist you and the cat owner in reaching a favourable outcome.

Small Animal traps are available for hire from Council with the payment of a refundable deposit. Cats may be seized 'if it is reasonable and necessary for the protection of any person or animal (other than vermin) from injury or death'. If you seize a cat, it must be returned to its owner or to Council's ranger as soon as possible.

Written complaints may be lodged with Council, however Council will generally not take further action unless a Nuisance Cat Information Sheet and Nuisance Cat Diary (2mb pdf form) has been completed for at least 14 days. You will also be required to act as a witness in court should the matter proceed to Court.



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Postal Address

The General Manager
Ballina Shire Council
PO Box 450
Ballina NSW 2478

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40 Cherry Street
Ballina NSW 2478


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