Cats and Dogs

Owning a pet is highly rewarding. Everyone who owns a pet must be aware of their responsibilities, not only to their pet, but also to the wider community. As a pet owner, you have the responsibility to look after you pet’s basic welfare needs. Your pet will need an appropriate balanced diet, clean, cool water at all times, adequate shelter for all weather conditions, socialisation, training, exercise and veterinary care. Find out how to deal with barking dogs and nuisance cats, discover off-leash dog exercise areas and much more.

All cats and dogs must be microchipped and registered with Council.


When adding a cat to your family, Central Coast Council wants to give you some tips on how you can become a responsible pet owner and keep your cat safe. Identification, such as a microchip and a collar with tags, will ensure you are reunited with your cat should they become lost or injured. Council encourages residents to keep cats indoors, especially at night.  This not only helps to protect our native wildlife but also to prevent cats being run over by cars, mauled by dogs, poisoned and lost as a result of roaming freely outdoors.

Nuisance Cats

A domestic cat cannot be trapped or caught in a public or privately owned space and taken to an Animal Care Facility unless it is necessary to prevent injury or death of another domestic animal, person or if the cat is in a designated wildlife protection area.

For assistance with wildlife injured by a cat, contact WIRES Rescue on 1300 094 737.

Complaints regarding nuisance cats can be made by contacting our Customer Service Centre on 1300 463 954.


Identification, such as a microchip and a collar with tags, will ensure you are reunited with your dog should they become lost or injured. When out in public your dog must be on a leash and restrained when not in an Off-Leash Area. Dogs are only allowed off the leash in specified Off-Leash Dog Exercise Areas and you are still required to have effective command control over you dog.

An unrestrained and unsupervised dog can be a danger to other people and animals. Penalties can apply to the dog owner or the person in charge for a dog that attacks, bites, harasses, chases or rushes at a person or animal.

Rain dissolves poo and washes it into the storm water system which leads to the ocean and lakes, polluting waterways and creating potential health risks. If your dog defecates in a public place or on someone else’s property, you must remove the faeces immediately and dispose of it properly. If you fail to pick up after your dog, you or the person in charge of the dog at the time may be liable for a penalty.

Barking dogs

Barking is a natural way for dogs to communicate and can express anything from playfulness to concern. Often the key to stopping nuisance behaviour is to understand why the dog is barking. For information about how to deal with excessive dog barking in your neighbourhood, see the Barking Dogs section on our Neighbourhood concerns page.

Dog attack

If you or your dog has been attacked please report it to Council as a matter of urgency on 1300 463 954.

Roaming dogs

If the owner of a roaming dog cannot be contacted, it is taken to one of our Animal Care Facilities. If you know where a roaming dog lives and you are able to secure it, contact the owner as soon as possible. Otherwise, bring it to the nearest Animal Care Facility or contact our Customer Service Centre on 1300 463 954.

If your dog is missing, contact our Animal Care Facilities at Charmhaven on 4350 3184 or Erina on 4304 4350.

Safety around dogs

Approaching dogs

All dogs have different traits and personalities and will react in any number of ways to being approached. Even the friendliest dog can react badly if startled or frightened. 

Being aware of simple body language and following some basic rules can help keep you, your family and your own animals comfortable and safe.

  • Always get permission from the dog owner before approaching or patting a dog- if the owner is not present its best not to attempt patting the animal.
  • Never approach a dog from behind, always make sure the dog knows you're there.
  • Move naturally, dont run towards dogs and try not to appear to be creeping towards them
  • Be aware of the dogs posture, a scared or uncomfortable animal will pull away, raise their hackles (hair on the back), stiffly wag their tail or move it between their legs. Other signs such as licking their lips or heavy panting can indicate an animal is not comfortable.
  • If you have permission and the animal is willing, stroke the dog gently on the sides of the chest, under the chin or sides of the face. Avoid the top of the head and shoulders as these can be seen as dominating actions.
  • Always keep your face away from animals to avoid any possible injuries.

If approached by an unknown dog

If you are approached by a strange dog, always be aware of your body language and keep these basic tips in mind

  • Avoid direct eye contact
  • Don't run or make any sudden movements; stand still or move slowly towards safety
  • Don't kick the dog or scream
  • Keep your hands by your sides, try not to wave them around
  • If concerned move slowly to a safe location or put barriers between you and the animal. Call Council on 1300 463 954 and lodge a roaming dog report.

Additional things to remember

  • Fireworks and thunderstorms - make sure your pet is secured to prevent them from running away when scared.
  • Going away - ensure your pet is responsibly cared for by arranging friends or family to pet sit or book your pet into a boarding kennel.
  • Travelling - pets must be secured properly and are not allowed to sit on laps or in the front seat; never leave a pet alone in a hot car.

Additional Resources

Victor and Victoria’s Pet Town was developed by the NSW State Government to help young children learn about responsible pet ownership and living safely with dogs.

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Last updated : Thu 5 Aug 2021