Dogs in open space

Open spaces for dogs are a priority in the City of Newcastle (CN) Local Government Area (LGA).  We know people are passionate about their dogs, with many people considering dogs to be part of their family or valued companions.  Our  Dogs in Open Space Plan (pdf) guides the provision, improvement and management of dog off leash areas over the next 10 years.

Owning a dog

Being a responsible dog owner is easy.  There are 6 things you can do to be a responsible pet owner:

  • Make sure your dog can be identified with a collar, tag and microchip
  • Make sure your dog is registered with Council so it can be identified if it becomes lost
  • Keep your dog in your yard
  • Consider desexing your pet
  • Always keep your dog on a leash in public unless in an off leash area
  • Clean up after your pet.


All dogs must be   lifetime registered (pdf) by the time they are six months old.  The costs of lifetime registration is as follows:

  • Desexed animal (owned by a pensioner and with proof of sterilisation) $25
  • Desexed animal (except one owned by pensioner and with proof of sterilisation) $58
  • For animal not desexed and owned by registered breeder $58
  • For an animal not desexed $210
  • Desexed animal sold by eligible pound or shelter $29

You may lifetime register your dog  online at the NSW Pet Registry, at any Council in NSW.  You may also register your dog at our local pound, the  RSPCA .

Benefits of registration

Registration clearly identify the dog as yours. If your pet becomes lost, Council will be able to notify you of your dog's whereabouts.

Registration fees are used to provide services such as:

  • Straying dogs
  • Dog attacks
  • Public education about responsible pet ownership
  • Maintenance of   Leash free areas
  • Community microchipping days
  • Poo bins.


All puppies must be permanently identified with a  microchip (pdf), either by

  • 12 weeks of age
  • at point of sale
  • change of ownership, which ever occurs first.

If you are giving away your dog or puppy you MUST have it microchipped first.  It is the responsibility of the owner to transfer the microchip and dog into the new owner's name.

It is important to remember that microchipping does not take the place of council registration - you must still register your pet at six months of age.


It is a legal requirement to have separate identification on your dog that clearly states name, address and/or telephone numbers.


All owners are encouraged to desex their animals.  The cost of registration with proof of desexing is less for desexed animals and further discounts are available for desexed animals owned by a pensioner.

  • Early desexing also eliminates the risk of serious diseases including reproductive cancers
  • Desexed dogs grow up cleaner, healthier, quieter and more home loving
  • Desexed dogs will not become fat unless they are overfed and under exercised
  • Desexed dogs are much less aggressive than entire dogs and make much safer family pets particularly for those families with young children.

Thousands of unwanted puppies and dogs are destroyed by animal welfare agencies each year because there are simply not enough homes for them.

 Hunter Animal Watch is a voluntary organisation that aims to reduce the number of unwanted cats and dogs in the Hunter by offering financial assistance to people on low incomes to desex their animals.  For further information contact 4961 6133 between 11am and 3pm Monday to Friday.

What to do if you sell or give away your dog

It is the responsibility of the 'old' owner (the person selling or giving away the animal) to notify the change. You can transfer ownership  online at the NSW Pet Registry, or complete  Change of ownership (pdf) form, this needs to be signed by the 'old' owner as well as the new owner. Failure to notify council of the change may result in fines.

If you are an owner of a restricted or dangerous dog please contact Council on 4974 2000.

What to do if I move address or change my details

Pet owners should make sure that their contact information listed on the NSW Companion Animals Register is always up to date and current – if your pet goes missing, you can’t be contacted if your information is out of date.

This can be completed  online at the NSW Pet Registry or by completing the   change of details (pdf) form within 14 days.

Out and about

Do you love to take your pooch out and about? Did you know dogs are now allowed in kerbside outdoor dining areas.

Your dog can join you if they:

  • Are on a lead
  • Stay on the ground
  • Are not fed
  • Have the restaurant owner's permission.

Download the   dogs breakfast information flyer (pdf).

There are also plenty of   Leash free areas in Newcastle.

Further Information

Department of Local Government  frequency asked questions (pdf) brochure is available if you require any further information or contact us on 4974 2000.