Skip to main content
Home / Welcome to Darwin / Pets & Wildlife / Dog & Cat Management / Animal By-Laws and Infringement Offences

Animal By-Laws and Infringement Offences

It’s the responsibility of a pet owner to ensure their animal is contained to their property, behaves in an acceptable manner and does not cause a nuisance to neighbouring properties.

Council is committed to delivering effective animal management throughout the municipality to create a harmonious community for pet owners and non-pet owners.  

Council's Animal By-Laws set out what is acceptable and what is not. 

Council enforces these By-Laws. The aim is always to avoid issues with pets in our community. Where necessary infringement notices (fines) are issued.

Do you understand what dog or cat behaviour is considered an offence?

Dog and Cat Offences

Dog Attacks are a clear example of behaviour that is considered an offence by Council. Every week in Darwin there are several reported dog attacks. Below is a list of all the dog and cat offences in Darwin with some notes on why this behaviour is a fineable offence.

Did you know that If a dog menaces or rushes at a person or animal this is considered a lower level dog attack and can result in an infringement?

List of Infringements for Dog Offences 2019/2020

Unregistered dog - Penalty $157

By-Law 63 (1), if your dog is found to reside in the Darwin municipality, is over 3 months of age and is unregistered you will be issued with a $157 fine.

No licence to keep dogs are required - Penalty $157

By-Law 64 (1), an owner must not keep more than four (4) animals per property, two dogs and or two cats, or with the approval of a licence three of the same species.

Council will only consider new licence applications where:

  • the number of dogs at the relevant residential premises does not exceed three (3)
  • the number of cats at the relevant residential premises does not exceed three (3)
  • the total number of animals (dogs and cats) at the relevant residential premises does not exceed four (4)
Remove identification device - Penalty $157

By-Law 66 (1), a person, other than the owner, must not remove a dog’s identification device.

Dog at large - Penalty $157

Under By-Law 66(2) and 67(1), Dogs and cats are required to be under effective control at all times in a place other than its usual home. If a dog or cat at large is not under effective control then, pursuant to By-Law 67 of the Animal Management By-laws, the owner commits an offence. A dog or cat is under effective control if it is restrained by a suitable leash. In the case of dogs, the leash must either be held by a person who is competent to restrain the dog or otherwise prevents the dog from breaking free. A dog is also considered under effective control when it is off-leash in a dog exercise area, provided that:

  • the dog is immediately responsive to a voice command of its owner;
  • the dog is not a female dog in oestrus; and
  • the owner is carrying a suitable leash.
Dog chases vehicle - Penalty $314

By-Law 70, an owner of a dog which chases a motor vehicle commits an offence.

Entice dog to commit offence - Penalty $314

By-Law 68, a person (including the owner of the dog) must not entice or induce a dog to act in a manner that would render the owner of the dog liable to prosecution for an offence.

Dog causes nuisance - Penalty $314

By-law 71 of the Animal Management By-laws prescribes other nuisance behaviour including being habitually at large, being offensive or endangering the health of a person or animal or causing damage to anything outside of the premises where the dog is usually kept or makes a noise, by barking or otherwise, that;

Persistently occurs; or chases or runs at:

  • a person (whether or not the person is on foot or otherwise and whether or not there is a fence or other barrier between the person and the dog); or
  • an animal (other than in the course of droving, tending, working or protecting stock); or
  • is offensive or endangers the health of a person or animal (other than in the course of droving, tending, working or protecting stock); or
  • causes damage to anything outside the premises where the dog is usually kept.
Fail to respond to notice of impoundment - Penalty $314

By-Law 73 A (2), an owner who fails to comply with a notice of impoundment commits an offence.

Abandon Dog – Penalty $314

By-Law 72 abandon includes deliberately leaving a dog at any premises or public place without the consent of the owner or occupier of the premises or the person in control of the public place.

Dog in a restricted area - Penalty $157

By-Law 65 (2), if a dog is present in a dog restriction area and the presence of the dog is prohibited, the owner of the dog commits an offence.

Level 1 attack - Penalty $942

By-law 69 (1) & 55A, Level (1) A dog commits a Level 1 attack if the dog bites or holds a person or animal in its mouth whether or not:

  1. the holding is accompanied by biting, shaking, pulling or pushing; or
  2. the person or animal suffers any injury (physical or otherwise).
Level 2 attack - Penalty $785

By-Law 69 (1) & 55 A, a dog commits a Level 2 attack if the dog approaches, chases, menaces, harasses or rushes at a person or animal in a manner endangering or causing fear, alarm or distress to the person or animal. This applies whether or not there is any contact or injury to the person or animal.

Subsequent attack within 12 months - Penalty $1099

By-Law 69 (1)

Offence in relation to dog defecating - Penalty $157

By-Law 70A (2), the owner or the person in control of the dog at the time the dog defecates must immediately remove and dispose of the faeces in a manner that is not offensive to another person. The owner no dog walker must carry a receptacle to collect the dog's faeces.

Fail to comply with conditions of dog registration - Penalty $314

By-Law 63 A (1), the registered owner of a dog or cat must not break a condition of registration for the dog or cat.

Fail to contain dog - Penalty $314

By-Law 66A (1), a person must properly contain a dog either by a fenced area which the dog is unable to escape, kept inside a building or other enclosed area or restrained by a suitable leash in or upon a vehicle.

Permanent tethering is no means of containment.

  • Did you know, if your dog barks for more than Barking that exceeds three (3) minutes in any 30 minute period between 10pm and 7am the following morning,
  • Barking that exceeds six (6) minutes in any hour period between 7am and 10pm that day.

List of Infringements for Cat Offences 2019/2020

Unregistered cat - Penalty $157

By-Law 63 (1), if your cat is found to reside in the Darwin municipality, is over 3 months of age and is unregistered you will be issued with a $157 fine.

No Licence to keep cats as required - Penalty $157

By-Law 64 (1), an owner must not keep more than four (4) animals per property, two dogs and or two cats, or with the approval of a licence three of the same species.

Cat at large - Penalty $157

Under By-Law 66(2) and 67(1), Dogs and cats are required to be under effective control at all times in a place other than its usual home. If a dog or cat at large is not under effective control then, pursuant to By-Law 67 of the Animal Management By-laws, the owner commits an offence. A dog or cat is under effective control if it is restrained by a suitable leash.

Fail to comply with conditions cat registration - Penalty $314

By-law 63A(1), the registered owner of a dog or cat must not break a condition of registration for the dog or cat.

Last modified 
06 Aug 2019

Help us improve this site