Suburbs blueprint calls for annual registration of cats and dogs

Ian Bushnell 20 March 2021 19

Registered and contained, that’s the future for the ACT’s cats, according to the Better Suburbs Statement. File photo.

Annual registration for cats as well as dogs and a roll-out of cat containment rules across Canberra’s older suburbs are recommended in the Better Suburbs Statement released today (18 September) by the ACT Government.

At present, dogs are registered for life and cats are not registered at all and the Statement says a system for annual registration of dogs and cats would enable the establishment of a centralised government database to assist and enforce responsible pet ownership.

It says issues have been raised by both the Government and community that the data the Government currently has is outdated and inaccurate for cat and dog ownership in Canberra with the current lifetime registration scheme.

The Statement says all new suburbs must be cat containment suburbs, and Transport Canberra and City Services should develop a planned roll-out of cat containment for Canberra’s older suburbs.

Last month the new Ginninderry suburbs of Strathnairn and Macnamara were added to the cat containment areas in the ACT, along with a large area near the Gungahlin Marketplace shopping centre.

Current cat containment areas include Bonner, Coombs, Crace, Denman Prospect, Forde, Jacka, Lawson, Molonglo, Moncrieff, Taylor, Throsby and Wright and The Fair at Watson.

The Better Suburbs Statement says these measures will promote responsible pet ownership in Canberra and aim to achieve improved community safety; improved data collection and record keeping on ACT pets; improved services to recover lost pets; improved efficiency of regulatory costs; and protection of native fauna.

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It envisages cooperation with private enterprises; and recommends the removal of pet restrictions in commercial areas and workplaces.

The Statement says there should be a clear transition process from lifetime to annual registration.

To ensure a smooth transition and compliance, the changes and what the registration fees are being used for should be clearly explained to pet owners.

There should be a focus on education and better enforcement but with amnesties to encourage compliance.

For example, getting the owner to agree to register and microchip their pet rather than taking it to the pound; or providing a timeframe of no more than 12 months to complete registration and micro-chipping.

On the vexed issue of dog attacks, the community should be able to report incidents online.

The Better Suburbs Statement will guide Canberra’s suburban development and city services up to 2030 including the service priorities for the next four years.

It is the product of a year-long community consultation that used a deliberative democracy process including a number of Citizens Forums.

It can be found at

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19 Responses to Suburbs blueprint calls for annual registration of cats and dogs
Grimm Grimm 7:32 am 21 Sep 18

So what happens with people who have already paid for lifetime registration of their dogs? Surely this could only be for new pets.

Kat Watson Kat Watson 8:46 pm 20 Sep 18

All cats should be contained and registered. We have 3 and love them to bits but they don't belong outside.

Ana Ana 5:38 pm 20 Sep 18

This is a great idea.

David Murn David Murn 1:37 pm 20 Sep 18

Isn't it already a requirement that cats and dogs are registered?

    Lauryn Roberts Lauryn Roberts 4:00 pm 23 Sep 18

    Probably but never hear of people getting fines...

Cary Elliot Johnson Cary Elliot Johnson 7:52 am 20 Sep 18

Yes. And include dogs too. Dogs also stalk, hunt and kill wildlife and birds.

    Jackson Bond Jackson Bond 4:27 pm 20 Sep 18

    Dogs have always been required to be contained, and registered.. Its only (some) cat owners who for some reason think that there animals should be free to roam the neighbourhood...and they should be exempt from registration.

    Cary Elliot Johnson Cary Elliot Johnson 5:59 pm 20 Sep 18

    Jackson Bond agree. But native animals and birds don't stop at fence boundaries. Ideally both would be required to be contained within a yard, but they can still prey within those confines. Bloody cat owners who allow them to roam at all hours are the worst.

Grimm Grimm 6:19 pm 19 Sep 18

Another tax and blatant cash grab from the ACT Labor Government.

Way to encourage people not to register pets to avoid this annual fee though.

Cathy Dearnley Cathy Dearnley 4:25 pm 19 Sep 18

Moved from cat-contained Bonner to Kambah. Fantastic decision except my canaries have been attacked over and over. 6 dead so far.

Katie Asplin Katie Asplin 12:00 pm 19 Sep 18

I think cat containment areas are a great idea, but I also think something needs to be done to make it easier for people to comply. I don’t live in a cat containment area but I applied to my body corporate to contain my courtyard so my cat could go out there because I think it’s mean to lock her inside 24 hours a day. The body corporate refused my application even though I provided plans from a reputable company to do the work which would not have impacted on my neighbours. Even after requesting feedback I never got any reason for the refusal. So I now have to either lock her in (which I do, and I feel sorry for her) or let her roam. Designating areas as containment areas is the first step but enabling people to contain their cats in a manner that doesn’t have negative welfare impacts has to happen too.

    Doris Andrews Doris Andrews 2:39 pm 19 Sep 18

    This is a very real problem for pet owners who live in rented homes. Pets and Positive Ageing is a group in the ACT who are working on this problem. There is an upcoming forum on this topic. The forum is at the Legislative assembly. You can contact Pets and Positive Ageing by emailing: secretary

    Katie Asplin Katie Asplin 3:05 pm 19 Sep 18

    Doris Andrews yes it’s very frustrating. I actually own my flat but I’m still restricted by the body corporate, which just frustrates me so much! It’s my own home and I’m not allowed to make my courtyard safe and secure for my cat! Thank you for the link I will definitely take a look

    Justin Watson Justin Watson 9:21 pm 19 Sep 18

    Katie Asplin I live in a body corporate run place and I think you'll find some body corporates have no idea. As an owner you can attend the AGM and even get elected to the executive. Where I live we are fairly relaxed. If the structure is temporary and not overly visible its ok. In fact I believe if it is below the fence line, the body corporate has no say as it is not visually damaging. They can't tell you how to do your garden, so if you keep the cat run low and below the fenceline, i doubt they can tell you to remove it.

g210 g210 9:06 am 19 Sep 18

“a system for annual registration of dogs and cats”,
“a planned roll-out of cat containment for Canberra’s older suburbs”,
“registration fees”,
And there we have it. Yet another revenue stream for our greedy mob, the actual purpose of which will disappear a few years down the track. And guess what will get jacked up every year during the budget. Ka-Ching!

Lynne Audsley Lynne Audsley 7:56 am 19 Sep 18

Agree, for the protection of the cats as well as wildlife. sad to see pet cats roaming at night, in danger of being hit by cars.

Jenni Zimoch Jenni Zimoch 7:27 am 19 Sep 18

I totally agree with registration for all cats and dogs and containment areas.

Jen Dee Jen Dee 11:38 pm 18 Sep 18

I think all cats should be kept contained, not just in some suburbs

Denise Smith Denise Smith 9:03 pm 18 Sep 18

Best thing that could happen.

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