Pet Ownership

Pet Registration

State laws require you to register your dog or cat, you must:

  • Microchip and register at three months of age.
  • Renew the registration every year by April 10.
  • Tell Council if you change address.
  • You may be fined if your cat or dog is over three months old and is not registered, and
  • You must follow particular restrictions in relation to dangerous and restricted breeds of dogs.

When you register a dog or cat, Council knows the pet’s owner and address, and how many dogs and cats you own. If you have more than two dogs and/or two cats per residential household you will be required to apply for a permit from Council (applicable as from April 2014).

You do not need to register pets like birds, fish and small animals.

Upon registration Council will issue you with a registration number and tag. Your animal must wear the issued Council registration tag.

Money from pet registrations goes toward maintaining the animal shelter, improving council facilities and signage for pet owners as well as maintaining equipment for rangers and supplying poo pickup bags on the Promenade. 

The microchip number is unique to your animal for its lifetime. The registration number is unique to the Warrnambool City Council registration register. Having a microchip number does not mean that your animal in registered with the Council.

It is also recommended that your dog or cat have a separate ID tag with its name, phone number and address, so neighbours can return your pet if it escapes.

How to register your pet for the first time

Legislation requires that first time registered dogs or cats must be microchipped. Bring a copy of the de-sexing certificate, microchipping certificate and a Pensioner Concession card (if applicable) to the Warrnambool Civic Centre, 25 Liebig Street, Warrnambool. Council will provide you with a lifetime registration tag (replacements are available). Place the tag on your pet’s collar.

Registration fees April 10, 2024 to April 9, 2025

Discounts apply for pensioners, microchipped pets (registered prior to 2013), obedience trained, desexed or working dogs, dogs or cats over 10 years or animals registered with an approved feline or canine association.

Dog registration fees

Unsterilised Full Fee - $220 Pension Rate - $110
Desexed/Over 10 years Full Fee - $72 Pension Rate - $36
Working dog on rural property Full Fee - $72 Pension Rate - $36
Membership of applicable organisation (eg Dogs Victoria) Full Fee - $72 Pension Rate - $36
Dogs with accredited training Full Fee - $72 Pension Rate - $36

Declared dangerous dogs and restricted breed dogs will be registered at a flat rate of $330. No pensioner discounts apply.

Cat Registration Fees

Unsterilised Full Fee - $220 Pension Rate - $110
Desexed/Over 10 years Full Fee - $72 Pension Rate - $36
Membership of applicable organisation (eg Cat Fanciers Australia) Full Fee - $72 Pension Rate - $36

A half-year fee is charged if you register your dog or cat after November 1.

If an animal dies a 50 per cent refund is available up to November 1.

Recent legislative changes to the Domestic Animal Act 1994 have led to reduced fees for microchipping no longer being applied. This will only affect pets registered on or after 11th April 2013. Existing registrations with the Warrnambool City Council will still have the reduction.

How to renew your pet registration

If you have a dog or cat, you must renew the registration every year by 10 April. Council sends you a reminder for renewal in the mail. Once you pay, your pet's registration is renewed for another year.

Click Here to pay Online

Click here to Pay using Australia Post BillPay

Animal Payments can also be made using the following methods:

Bpay - Details are on your Animal Registration Notice
In Person - WCC Offices 25 Liebig Street Warrnambool
By Phone - (03) 5559 4800
By Mail - PO Box 198, Warrnambool 3280

Lost your pet’s registration tag?

There is a $20 fee payable for replacement tags.

Contact Council to arrange a new tag.

Update your Animal Ownership details

Download the Update Animal ownership details form here or Contact Council or to notify of a change to your animal or owner.

Change of Circumstances

If you have a new dog or cat please bring a copy of the de-sexing certificate, microchipping certificate and a Pensioner Concession card (if applicable) to the Warrnambool Civic Centre, 25 Liebig Street, Warrnambool. Council will provide you with an animal registration tag.

Click here to download the Deceased Pet Animal Registration Attestation printable form

Please tell us about your change of circumstances

Type of change


Read the Warrnambool City Council privacy Policy here
The information collected on this form is required by Warrnambool City Council. If this information is not collected the application cannot be processed. The applicant may apply to Council for access and/or amendment of the information by contacting Council’s Freedom of Information/Privacy officer on 03 5559 4800 or
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A microchip is a small computer chip with a unique number on it. It is the size of a grain of rice. It is put into the loose skin of an animal’s neck. Microchipping takes a few seconds and is painless. It lasts forever.

After microchipping, the vet gives information about your pet, and your name and address to the Australian Animal Registry.

A microchip is a great way to ensure your pet is permanently identified as yours. This means that if your pet gets out or becomes lost, they have a greater chance of being returned to you.

Microchipping is not a substitute for Council pet registration.

On May 1 2007, it became mandatory that all cats or dogs which are being registered for the first time must be microchipped prior to registration.

Where to get your pet microchipped

Pounds, animal shelters and vets provide microchipping.

Keep your pets records up to date

If you change your address, contact details or need to update your information, you must notify Council to ensure your animal has accurate contact details.

Microchip Provider
If you change your address, contact details or need to update your information, you must also notify the microchip register.


Desexing Your Pet

Dogs and cats can start having litters at a very young age. This problem highlights the importance of desexing your dog or cat at an early age and reducing the number of unwanted animals in our communities. In addition to preventing unwanted litters desexed dogs and cats they are less prone to wander, fight and less likely to get lost or inured. Desexing reduces territorial behaviour and may result in a positive behavioural change.

Council provides residents with a substantial reduction on the registration fee for desexed dogs and cats. It is not compulsory to desex your pet although it is encouraged. You can have your pet desexed at any veterinary surgeon.

Pet Limits

Council is responsible for ensuring animals are safe and are kept by their owners to the standard set out in Local Law 2 Section 30 – Keeping Animals.  Under this law, owners are required to keep animals within the perimeters described below for any particular animal, unless a permit is granted.

Type of Animal Maximum Allowed
Dogs 2
Cats 2
Poultry (not including roosters) 10
Roosters Nil
Peafowl Nil
Guineafowl Nil
Domestic Birds 100
Domestic Mice 10
Guinea Pigs 6
Ferrets 4
Domestic Rabbits 4
Domestic Fish No limit
Domestic Turtles, Tortoises, Frogs No limit
Horses, Donkeys, Mules Nil
Cattle Nil
Sheep Nil
Goats Nil
Pigs Nil
Reptiles Nil
Any Other Agricultural Animals Nil

The offspring of any dog or cat lawfully kept will be exempt for a period of 12 weeks after their birth.

Special Permit

If you feel that there are special circumstances in regards to your individual situation that sit outside of the above regulations, you will need to apply in writing for a special permit. Once the request is received, the Ranger will assess the appropriateness of the request and respond to the request within 10 working days.  This will entail a visit to your home and contacting neighbours in order to gather information about your individual situation.


How many cats can I keep?

You can keep two cats per household unless a permit has been granted by Council for breeding or other purposes.

Keep your cat inside at night

It is dangerous for your cat and the environment to let your cat roam at night.

Between sunset and sunrise your cat may:

  • Attack wildlife such as birds.
  • Damage the environment.
  • Get hit by traffic.
  • Be injured or injure another cat in a fight.
  • Transmit diseases such as feline AIDS as a result of fighting, and
  • Spray, howl and annoy neighbours, especially during mating season.

Stop your cat from roaming at night

If your cat normally roams at night, try to change its behaviour.

  • Skip your cat’s breakfast. Call it in at the end of the day and feed it.
  • Lock your cat inside in a dry, well-aired space, for example a laundry with a bed, water and kitty litter tray.


Walking your dog is a great way to explore Warrnambool but please be aware of the rules regarding dogs in public areas, particularly the foreshore, which is off limits to dogs during certain months of the year.

Dogs must be on a leash in all public places unless declared as "off-lead" and pick up bags must be carried and used.

Here's a map of where you can walk your dog with or without a lead. 

Designated off-leash areas

Dogs must be kept under effective voice control and a lead carried and used when in the vicinity of another dog or within 30m of a children's playground, barbecue facility, organised sporting event, picnic area or public meeting.

Dogs must not be allowed to worry or threaten any person or animal.

You can walk your dog off a leash in the following areas:

  • Community Dog Park in Victoria Park, Koroit Street
  • Albert Park (excluding sports grounds)
  • Beach area, Hopkins River (west side) to Flume
  • Blue Hole Reserve (from Hopkins River Bridge to mouth, east side only) between April 1 and November 30
  • Merri River areas of public open space in the vicinity of Manuka Drive, Membrey Way and Ponting Drive
  • Bushfield Oval Reserve (excluding sports grounds)
  • Harris Street Reserve (excluding sports grounds)
  • Jubilee Park, Woodford
  • Logans Beach
  • Allansford Reserve (excluding sports grounds)
  • Davidson Oval Reserve (excluding sports grounds)
  • Kings Park
  • Russells Creek Reserve (Mortlake Road to Garden Street)
  • Schrader Park, Allansford
  • Tozer Road easement (to Wanstead Street)
  • Victoria Park
  • Payne Reserve
  • Merrivale Reserve (excluding sports grounds)
  • Jones Oval (excluding sports ground)
  • Scoborio Reserve
  • St James Reserve
  • Brierly Reserve (excluding sports grounds)
  • Rotary Park
  • Dennington Reserve (excluding sports grounds)
  • Archibald Reserve
  • And such other areas as Council may determine

Designated on-leash areas

You can walk your dog on a leash in the following areas:

  • All public areas (residential streets, CBD etc)
  • Blue Hole Reserve (Hopkins River Bridge to Mouth, east side, on-leash only from December 1 to March 31, on or off a leash between April 1 and November 30)
  • Foreshore walking tracks, including Foreshore Promenade
  • Main beach area (Flume to Breakwater from April 1 to November 30)

Prohibited areas

The following areas are prohibited for dogs:

  • Lake Pertobe Reserve
  • Botanic Gardens
  • Jetty Flat Athletics Centre
  • Sports ovals
  • Main beach area (Flume to Breakwater) between December 1 and March 31
  • Merri River Mouth (south of Stanley Street Bridge including Middle Island)
  • Merri River Wetlands (Viaduct Road to MacDonald Street)
  • Hopkins River and beach frontage (Ski Club) between November 1 and April 30
  • Surfside & Shipwreck Bay holiday parks between December 23 and February 2
  • Rail Trail (sections adjacent to Lake Pertobe Reserve)
  • And such other areas as Council may determine

Dangerous dog

A dog can be declared dangerous if the dog has caused the death of or serious injury to a person or animal by attacking or biting.

Menacing dog

A dog can be declared menacing if the dog rushed at or chased a person, or the dog bites any person or animal causing injury that is not in the nature of a serious injury.

Restricted breed

A person must not keep a restricted breed dog.

Report an incident

If you have been a victim of a dog attack immediately contact Council's Local Laws officer on (03) 5559 4806.

Animal Faeces in Public Places

The removal of animal droppings within public space is the responsibility of the owner, who must have in their possession a bag, container or other means of removing the excrement.

The owner must produce this means upon request, as failure to do so may result in a fine.

Animal Litter: Local Law No. 34

  1. No person in charge of an animal may allow any part of the animal's excrement to remain on any road, or municipal place.
  2. Any person in charge of a animal on a road or a municipal place must have at all times in their possession bags, containers or other facility for removal of that animal’s excrement from the municipal place or road and must produce such facility upon the request of an authorised officer.

Penalty: 5 penalty units.

The Victorian State Government sets the value of Infringement Penalty Units, to find out more click here

Health & Environmental Impacts

Some impacts of failing to clean up after your dog are as follows:

Health impacts to dogs

  • Parvo—virus, Distemper.
  • Canine Hepatitis, Hookworm.
  • Roundworm, Tapeworm and Whipworm.

Health impacts to humans

  • Hookworm, Tapeworm, Roundworm and Whipworm.
  • Eye infections, throat infections and gastroenteritis from swimming in polluted waterways.

Environmental impacts

  • Washed into stormwater drains results in pollution of fresh waterways and spilling out into our oceans.
  • Effecting marine life and regularly closing the beaches due to the water being unsafe to swim in.

Amenity impacts

  • Unsightliness.
  • Flies and Insect breeding.
  • Smell, stepping in it, riding through it and, having your front gardens and nature strip left with “deposits” if you don’t have a front fence!

If you are affected by irresponsible dog owners not cleaning up after their dogs, a complaint can be made to Council. The following information needs to be provided to Council when making a complaint:

  • Correct address of where the dog is kept.
  • Relevant details to effectively action the complaint.

This information is needed so a fair and impartial investigation can be carried out. This information may also help the animal’s owner understand the effects they cause on others. Council will not respond to anonymous complaints.