Animal Identification and Registration

The Companion Animals Act was introduced by the NSW Government in 1998 to protect pets, their owners and the broader community.

Under the Act, owners of puppies and kittens must take two steps to provide lifetime protection for their pet.

  1. Microchip and Identify
  2. Register with your local council

These two steps will help return a pet to the owner if it is lost, hurt or stolen. Once microchipped and registered, the pet is protected for life. Microchipping, identification and lifetime registration can be done at any local council in NSW.

Microchipping and Identification

Microchips are a small 2mm implant that is placed under the skin between the shoulder blades with a needle. The microchip contains a "barcode" that a ten digit number is assigned to.

Since 1 July 1999 all dogs and cats in NSW must be microchipped at point of sale, change of ownership or by 12 weeks of age, whichever occurs first. A maximum penalty of $880 applies for breaching these provisions.

Vets, animal welfare organizations, council pounds and other authorised people can microchip a cat or dog. The microchipping costs vary depending on where it is done.

This service is available at our Animal Care Facility at Charmhaven.   Please contact the Animal Care Facility on (02) 4350 3184 for further information.

Once a cat or dog has been microchipped it can be identified prior to registration. Early microchipping and identification is highly recommended as a large percentage of puppies and kittens under 6 months of age are regularly lost from their homes.

There is no fee paid for identification, the fee is only paid once the animal is registered. The microchip number and your details are placed on a statewide register, that all NSW Councils are connected to. It is important that you notify the Council of any change of address.

A Certificate of Identification is issued, which is required when the pet owner wishes to register the animal (by 6 months of age).

Change of Owner / Details

It is the responsibility of the ‘old’ owner – the person selling or giving away the animal – to notify the change. Failure to do so may result in a fine of up to $880 or up to $5,500 for a dangerous or restricted dog.

Owner details can be updated once the animal is microchipped and identified on the system.


All dogs over the age of six months are required by law to be registered. It’s a one off fee and is for the life of the animal, so even if you move interstate and then return, the pet is still registered in NSW.

An animal must firstly be microchipped to enable it to be registered. There is nothing stopping registration of a new puppy as soon as possible.

If you desex your pet it means that lifetime registration is cheaper; pets don’t stray, and are less likely to be involved in territory disputes or attacks.

If you have moved to NSW you have three months to register your pet on the NSW Companion Animals Register.

How much will it cost to register my cat or dog?

Current lifetime registration fees (valid for the cat or dog's lifetime) are as follows:

Registration type

Current Fee

Animal not desexed


Desexed animal


Animal not desexed kept by recognised breeder for breeding purposes


Desexed animal owned by eligible pensioner*


Working dog


Cat born prior to 1 July 1999 where ownership has not changed (when the Companion Animals Act 1998 came into effect)


Assistance animal


Dog in the service of the State, for example, a police dog


Greyhound currently registered under the Greyhound Racing Act 2009**


*An eligible pensioner is a person in receipt of the aged pension, war widow pension or disability pension.

To register your pet you need:

  • A certificate of microchipping/identification or a letter from a vet
  • If desexed proof from a vet or a statutory declaration
  • Documents that give you a discount e.g. pension concession card, breeder card.

Download your copy of the Lifetime Registration form here, or call Customer Contact on (02) 4350 5555 to obtain a copy.

Pensioner concession

Pensioner concession is available on registration of an animal only if it is desexed and a valid and pension concession card can be produced.

Recognised breeder

In accordance with Section 1.01 of the Companion Animals Act Section (link) a recognised breeder is a person who is a member of one of the three following organisations:

  • Dogs NSW (formerly Royal NSW Canine Council)
  • NSW Cat Fanciers Association
  • Waratah State Cat Alliance

To obtain a discount as a recognised breeder, at time of registration you must show all of the following:

  • A current membership card from one of the listed recognised organisations;
  • Evidence that the animal is a purebred; and
  • A signed statement (from the owner) that the animal is kept for breeding purposes.

Fee exemption

Owners claiming a lifetime registration fee exemption for an Assistance Animal must provide proof that the animal is a genuine Assistance Animal. This includes a signed statement or documentation from a recognised training body that the animal is (or is being) trained as an Assistance Animal, and a signed statement from the training body or the owner that the animal is being used for that purpose.

Cats born before 1 July 1999 that remain with their original owner, working dogs used for tending stock on rural properties and Greyhounds registered under the Greyhound and Harness Racing Administration Act 2004 are exempt from microchipping and lifetime registration requirements.