Owning a pet is really good fun, and the love and joy they can bring to you or your family is almost limitless. Perhaps they bring you companionship, give you someone to spoil, help you relax and de-stress, encourage you to exercise, make you feel safe, or help you with your work.
But having a pet comes with some important responsibilities, many of which are governed by the Domestic Animals Act and subject to serious penalties:
- Microchip and register your dog or cat at 3 months of age, and renew your registration annually. This means you can be reunited with your pet if it becomes lost.
- Keep your pets safely contained within your property at all times. They must not be allowed to wander – especially onto roads – for their own safety and the safety of others.
- Give them plenty of attention and exercise. A barking dog can cause a nuisance to your neighbours. Dogs need to be walked twice a day for up to an hour at a time.
- Provide healthy food, clean fresh water and a comfortable sleeping area out of the weather.
- When out in public, clean up after your dog and keep them under control. Your dog should be on a leash at all times when outside your home, and there are penalties for dogs which charge at or attack other animals and people.
- Make sure your pets have the required vaccinations to prevent the spread of disease, and check and treat them regularly for fleas and ticks. See your vet for advice.
- Do not keep more than the maximum allowed number of dogs or cats on your property – unless you have a permit.
By accepting these responsibilities you will continue to experience great fun and enjoyment with your pet. It also protects their safety and wellbeing, and that of other members of the community who may come in contact with them.