Free pet registration for rescue animals

Pet owners who purchase a dog or cat from a pound, animal shelter or rehoming organisation will receive free pet registration. Photo: Emma Darbin.


THOSE who choose to adopt a rescue pet from a Council pound, animal shelter or rehoming organisation will now be rewarded with free lifetime pet registration.

From 1 July, the NSW Government introduced free lifetime registration for people who adopt a rescue pet from Council pounds, animal shelters and rehoming organisations.

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New registration and permit fees have also been introduced for animals for 2021-22, effective from 1 July, with the baseline registration fee for a dog now $66 and the registration fee for a cat is $56.

Minister for Local Government Shelley Hancock said she was delighted to announce the free pet registration to help ensure more dogs and cats find a forever home.

“I know only too well the challenges faced by pounds and animal shelters in finding forever homes for cats and dogs, especially with the increased demand as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Ms Hancock said.

“The initiative will encourage prospective pet owners to ‘adopt not shop’ for a dog or cat, ease the burden on council pounds and animal shelters, and reduce euthanasia rates in NSW.”

In 2015, the NSW Government introduced a 50 per cent discount on lifetime pet registration fees for people who rescue dogs and cats from council pounds and animal shelters, which was extended to include rehoming organisations in 2018.

Figures collected from NSW councils for 2019-20 show that the number of animals entering pounds decreased by 15 percent for dogs and almost 12 percent for cats compared to the previous year.

They also show that 86 percent of dogs and 60 percent of cats were returned to their owners, rehomed or sold.

All cats and dogs must be registered by six months of age, and owners are encouraged to have their cat or dog desexed before registering it.

The registration fee is a once-only payment, which covers the cat or dog for its lifetime in NSW, regardless of any changes in ownership.

Registration fees are used by councils for providing animal management related services to the community.

These may include ranger services, pound facilities, dog refuse bins, educational and other companion animal-related activities.

Those who fail to register their cat or dog when required to do so may be issued with a fixed penalty notice of $330, or a court may award a maximum penalty of up to $5,500 or up to $6,500 if the dog is a restricted dog or a declared dangerous or menacing dog.

The NSW Government is providing $5.8 million from the Companion Animals Fund to 128 local councils in the 2021-22 financial year for companion animal management including pounds and shelters, ranger services, dog recreation areas, and education and awareness programs.

The Government has also introduced $80 annual permits for owners of non-desexed cats to encourage desexing to prevent unwanted litters, and lessen the burden on pounds and shelters.

“We will continue to work with councils and animal welfare and rehoming organisations to promote responsible pet ownership and strengthen companion animal management across NSW,” Ms Hancock said.

A list of registration categories and the new fees for 2021-22 is provided on the Office of Local Government website at

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