Changes To NSW Government Pet Ownership Rules

A long-hair domestic cat having its microchip details scanned by Council staff.jpg

The new changes to NSW Government pet ownership regulations came into effect across the state on Monday 1 July 2024, with important changes that will affect current and future pet owners in the state.

These changes to the regulations aim to improve pet management and make it quicker and easier to reunite lost animals with their owners.

Under the new rules, all cats and dogs in NSW must be microchipped by 12 weeks of age or when sold or given away – whichever comes first. Pet owners are also required to register their animals on the NSW Pet Registry by 12 weeks of age, or if their new pet is less than 12 weeks old, when they first take ownership.

This registration involves a one-off lifetime payment per animal, which transfers with the pet if ownership changes. Registration must be paid within 28 days to avoid late fees.

These updates also introduce additional fees for non-desexed animals.

Dog owners are now required to pay an extra charge if their pet is not desexed before six months of age. For cats, an annual permit fee applies if the animal is not desexed by four months of age. Cats born before 22 July 2020 are exempt from this last requirement.

To streamline pet management, owners are encouraged to create an account on the NSW Pet Registry website. This online platform allows users to pay fees, update pet details, and report missing animals.

It's now easier than ever to keep your pet's information up-to-date on the registry. Keeping information updated will help keep your pet safe, so it's important to update your NSW Pet Registry account as soon as any change in ownership or address occurs.

Council encourages all pet owners to familiarise themselves with the new regulations and register for the new online NSW Pet Registry as soon as possible.

Visit the NSW Pet Registry website today at

Here is in full the NSW Pet Registry Upgrade Information for Councils:

NSW Pet Registry Fact Sheet

What is Changing for Councils?

Newly Implemented Registration Requirements

From 2 July 2024, all pet cats and dogs in NSW must be registered on the NSW Pet Registry either by 12 weeks of age or immediately upon transfer (whichever happens first).

Why Has the Registration Deadline Changed?

Clause 14 in the Companion Animals Regulation states that a companion animal is required to be registered – (a) from the time the animal is 12 weeks old, or (b) when the animal is first sold (even if it is less than 12 weeks old).

Before July 2, 2024, the online NSW Pet Registry could not support Clause 14 (a) and (b) of the regulation and so, Section 9 (1) of the Companion Animals Act which states that cats and dogs must be registered by 6 months of age was implemented.

However, Section 9 (2) of the act states that the regulations may change the age from which a companion animal is required to be registered from 6 months to any other age.

Now that the online NSW Pet Registry can support Clause 14 (a) and (b) of the regulation, it is now being implemented.

The additional fee for non-desexed dogs over 6 months of age and annual permit fee for non-desexed cats over 4 months of age still applies.

New 2-Step Payment Process

Payments for registration and non-desexing fees/annual permits can now be made separately.

Councils can accept a base registration fee for pets regardless of their desex status. Owners still need to pay an additional fee for dogs that are not desexed by 6 months of age or an annual permit fee for cats that are not desexed by 4 months of age. However, they can now make these payments when they fall due, separate to registration.

Short-Term Over the Counter Annual Permits and Additional Fee Management

Online annual permit payments via the NSW Pet Registry are temporarily unavailable for owners of non-desexed cats and dangerous or restricted dogs to allow for the system upgrade. The additional fee payment for non-desexed dogs over 6 months of age is also not available online. Payments will need to be processed via council until September 2024. Please let your community know about this short-term change.

Some Owners Will Not See Their Pets on Their NSW Pet Registry Profile

The NSW Pet Registry is still being developed and currently cannot display profiles for pets that are proposed or declared to be dangerous, restricted, menacing, or a nuisance.

An owner who was not previously on the NSW Pet Registry prior to 28 June 2024 will not see their pets as they were not linked prior to the system upgrade.

These pet records are still accessible in the CAR. A new feature scheduled for September will allow these owners to link their pets to their new profile. This will enable them to pay their annual permits online, receive notifications, and easily keep their details up to date.

Updated NSW Companion Animals Register (CAR) Fields and Paper Forms

NSW Pet Registry paper forms are being updated to reduce data entry issues and make responsibilities clearer for all users. Corresponding fields in the CAR make it easier to identify pets, change pet ownership, or update owner details using paper forms.

Please note it will take up to 1 hour for changes made in the CAR to be reflected in the new digital NSW Pet Registry.

Changes to the CAR Include:

  • Breeder Support: Councils can now change the registration type to breeder if a breeder retains an animal for recognized breeding purposes.
  • Addition of Mothers Microchip Number and Breeder Identification Number: Breeders can look up entire litters using the mother’s microchip number and confirm breeder details with the BIN. To complete the permanent identification for a litter, simply add the microchip numbers for each offspring.
  • Vets Login: Vets will no longer be able to log in to the CAR from 1 July 2024.
  • User Guides: The CAR website will be updated with user guides for council staff to navigate changes throughout the NSW Pet Registry upgrades.

A New Council Portal on the NSW Pet Registry Coming Soon

A specialized NSW Pet Registry portal for councils is under development and planned for release in 2025. It will provide a vastly improved user experience to help council staff complete tasks online with ease and cut down on unnecessary admin.

What is Changing for Cat and Dog Owners and Breeders

Owners and breeders can log in or create a NSW Pet Registry profile at This platform helps cat and dog owners and breeders manage important pet ownership tasks online.

Service NSW ID Verification at Login

Breeders and owners are required to use their Service NSW login credentials to access the NSW Pet Registry.

If users do not have a MyServiceNSW Account, they’ll need to create one before they can create a NSW Pet Registry account.

An Owner or Breeder Cannot See Their Pet Records When They Login

If pet details are not appearing on a user’s profile, this means we were unable to match their records. They will have to complete any pet-related tasks via council until September when features allowing greater lookup and linking of pet records are released.

Reasons for Data Not Being Matched Include:

  • User’s details on the NSW Pet Registry prior to 28 June did not match their MyServiceNSW account (email address, and legal first name/surname).
  • Pet records on CAR were not linked or transferred to their NSW Pet Registry account prior to 28 June 2024.
  • User has a dog declared dangerous, restricted, or menacing, or a nuisance pet.

Important Notice for Change of Owner Process at Councils

Between July and September, if your council processes ownership transfers using the C3A Change of Owner form in person or via post/email, you must inform new owners that they need to pay their registration fee directly at the council. Until September, new owners will be unable to link their new pet to their NSW Pet Registry account to pay the registration fee online, as this feature is still under development.

When you send a Record of Identification (formerly a 'Certificate of Identification'), please advise the new owner to contact or visit the council to pay their pet's registration fee. As Clause 14 of the Companion Animal Regulation is now implemented, new owners must pay their pet's registration as soon as they receive official ownership of their new pet to avoid potential late fees or fines.

How Do I Answer User Questions About the New Service NSW Login to the Pet Registry?

Please direct all questions about creating or logging into a MyServiceNSW Account to Service NSW by calling 13 77 88 or visiting

How Do I Answer Technical Questions?

Please direct all technical support inquiries to the NSW Pet Registry Helpline [email protected].

Benefits of the NSW Pet Registry Upgrade

Easier Online Registration Payment

Most pet owners can easily register their pets and pay the registration fee online. Owners of certain animals still need to go through council to register their pets. This includes owners of:

  • Assistance animals
  • Working dogs
  • Pets from approved rehoming organizations
  • Dogs in service of the state

Instant Pet Ownership Transfers

Easier Litter Management

Breeders can easily add new litters and animal details to their NSW Pet Registry profiles, then complete litter management tasks including:

  • Sharing details for easier online microchip entry by vets and authorized identifiers
  • Inviting owners to create NSW Pet Registry profiles
  • Instantly transferring ownership of pets

Those selling or giving away a pet can transfer ownership instantly through the NSW Pet Registry, with no need for the new owner to claim the pet. This means the pet is officially listed under the new owner's name. If a cat or dog is transferred by mistake, that person can reverse the transfer via their profile.

A New Notification System

This allows users to track important pet ownership and breeder tasks on a pet timeline. They will receive reminders and confirmation when tasks are completed.

For Owners This Includes:

  • Paying their registration fee
  • Desexing pets at the right time to avoid additional fees or annual permits

For Breeders This Also Includes:

  • Instantly transferring pets to new owners
  • Microchipping litters at the right time
  • Getting litters vaccinated at the right time
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