Responsible Pet Ownership

Wentworth Shire Council promotes the benefits of owning dogs and cats and we aim to ensure that pets and people live together harmoniously.

Our Companion Animals Management Plan balances the rights of animals and their owners with the needs of the wider community and environment, and encourages responsible animal ownership.

Wentworth Shire Council enforces the NSW Government’s laws relating to pet ownership, which are outlined in the Companion Animals Act 1998 . Under the act, cats and dogs must be microchipped and registered so they can always be returned home if hurt, lost or stolen.

This law is designed to reduce the number of animals put down in NSW, and to encourage people to take responsibility for their pets.

The Companion Animals Act 1998 also sets out an owner’s responsibility for controlling their pet  in the local neighbourhood and public places. For example, dogs must be controlled on a leash when in public (except in designated off-leash areas) and wear an identification disc with their name and contact number of their owner on their collar.


Wentworth Shire Council encourages all cat and dog owners to get their pets desexed. 

Desexing is when a vet removes part of a pet’s reproductive system while it is under a general anaesthetic, so that the pet cannot breed.

It is a common procedure, and pets recover quickly.

Why desex pets?

Australia already has too many unwanted animals, and hundreds of thousands of animals are put down each year.

Many unwanted litters are born because owners don’t get around to desexing their pet in time.

Cats can become pregnant at just 4 months old, and dogs can become pregnant at 5 months. 

If a cat continues to have litters (at 4 to 6 kittens per litter), and her offspring breeds for 7 years, this can add 420,000 new cats to the population.

Desexed pets live longer and healthier lives, and are less prone to wander, fight and be anti-social.

It also costs less to register your pet if it is desexed.

Desexing new pets

Book your puppy or kitten in for desexing by the time they are 6 months old. Desexing can be carried out safely on dogs and cats from the age of 12 weeks, although some vets prefer to wait until the animal is 5-6 months old.

  • Desexing can be done by your local vet.
  • Once your pet is desexed, you will receive a desexing certificate. This will entitle you to a discount on pet registration, if your pet is not already registered.

Desexing older pets

It is not too late to desex an adolescent or mature pet. Cats and dogs risk major health problems, including cancer or hemorrhaging, if they fall pregnant later in life.

Discounted desexing

Residents with a pensioner concession or health care card can get a discount on pet desexing. If you don’t qualify for a discount and are struggling to meet desexing costs, contact the RSPCA on (02) 9770 7555 or the Cat Protection Society on (02) 9519 7201.

Both organisations offer pet desexing, microchipping and initial vaccinations at a discounted rate to owners in genuine need.

You can also register for discounted desexing through the National Desexing Network by calling 1300 368 992.

Costs of not desexing your pet

If your undesexed female pet falls pregnant, you’ll need to find a new home for each puppy or kitten.

Dogs can have 10 or more puppies per litter, so finding homes for a whole litter can mean a lot of work for you.

Whether you sell or give them away, legally they have to be microchipped  before they are old enough to go to their new home (at about 8 weeks old). Microchipping and vaccination will cost about $100 for each pup/kitten, plus they’ll need worm tablets, flea treatments and food (once they’ve been weaned) until they are adopted.

If your male pet fathers a litter, you may be expected to help find new homes for the puppies or kittens and pay half the expenses. It is unacceptable and illegal to dump pets, and especially cruel to leave a litter of vulnerable puppies or kittens to fend for themselves. Dumping animals carries heavy penalties in NSW.