On this page, you can find information about dog control, dog adoption, breeding dogs, assistance dogs, working dogs, dog registration, barking dogs, menacing dogs, dog attacks and general tips for keeping your dog.

Dog Ownership

While owning a dog can be a rewarding experience, it is also a serious responsibility. 

Irresponsible dog ownership leads to a number of common community problems and can have serious consequences for both the owner and animal. The first step in responsible ownership is seriously considering if the dog you are choosing as a pet suits your lifestyle and the area in which you live. Don’t forget that Council and your neighbours may also become involved if the dog is constantly barking, escaping your property; or attacking other dogs, stock or people.

If you have decided to purchase a particular dog then remember it must be registered with the Council. Council provides a free take home service to dogs that are registered with Council that are found wandering at large for the first time. If your dog is not registered it will end up in the pound and you will need to pay pound fees to have the animal released to you. You may also receive a significant fine having an unregistered animal. Council regularly conducts registration checks in townships.

Dog Adoption

Geelong Animal Welfare Society (GAWS) in Moolap and Ballarat Animal Shelter in Alfredton have animals available for adoption. You can have a look and see if your new family member is waiting for you by clicking the attached links.



Dogs on a Lead or Under Effective Control

While it is great that our community are out walking their dogs, Council have received an increase in queries about dogs being off lead and not under effective control of their owner.  

Local Law No.1 identifies areas in the shire where dogs must be on a lead. These can be found here.  There are only small areas in townships where a dog must be on a lead however in every Council area and footpath, you must have effective control of your dog.

Effective control means your dog will return to its owner upon command, the owner retains a clear and unobstructed view of the dog, and that it does not bother, attack, worry or interfere with other people or animals.

If you cannot maintain effective control of your dog on a footpath or any other Council land, your dog must be on a leash.

Breeding Dogs

The Golden Plains Shire Planning Scheme permits a certain amount of dogs to be kept for breeding purposes. If you live in a residential zone and you have more than two fertile animals, either dogs or cats, at breeding age that you intend to breed, you will be required to apply for a planning permit for domestic animal husbandry. 

Planning Provisions for Breeding - Animal Welfare Victoria 

Assistance Dogs

Recent changes mean that assistance dogs are now exempt from registration fees, where eligibility criteria has been met and Council has been provided evidence of this. Please see Assistance Dog information sheet.

More information can also be found on Animal Welfare Victoria’s website

To be eligible for free registration, the owner of an assistance dog must demonstrate that:

  • They have a disability, as defined under the Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth), and require an assistance dog;
  • The assistance dog has been trained top perform tasks or functions to alleviate the effects of the disability;
  • The assistance dog has completed obedience training;
  • The assistance dog is at least 12 months of age;
  • The assistance dog is microchipped;
  • The assistance dog is desexed;

All eligibility criteria must be satisfied to be eligible for free registration.

The Application for Registration of Assistance Dog must be filled out, and supporting documentation as outlined in the application must be attached. Incomplete applications will be sent back and you will have 21 days to complete your application, after which time your dog will be considered as not registered with Council and applicable infringements may apply. If you are having difficulties with finalising any of the supporting documents, please contact the Customer Experience team to advice of any delays.

If you have any questions on the application, please don’t hesitate to contact the Community Safety Team on 03 5220 7111 who will be happy to answer any questions.

Working Dogs

The Domestic Animals Act 1994 defines a farm working dog as a dog that herds, droves, protects, tends or works stock on land used solely or primarily for primary production. The dog owner’s income must be primarily generated from primary production. Primary production is defined as the maintenance of animals or poultry for the purposes of selling them or their natural increase of bodily produce.

A primary producer is defined as someone whose primary source of income is generated from primary production as per the land tax definition, specifically in relation to animal production.

To determine if your dog is a farm working dog, please answer the following questions:

Dog ownership criteria:

  1. Are you, or are you contracted by, a primary producer?

  2. Is your main source of income generated from primary production?

Please note: Primary production is defined as the maintenance of animals or poultry for the purpose of selling them or their natural increase or bodily produce under section 3 of the Domestic Animals Act 1994.

If you answered NO to either of these questions, your dog does not qualify as a working dog.

Farm working dog criteria:

  1. Does your dog herd, drove, protect, tend or work stock?

  2. Does your dog work (as per the definition below) on land used mainly for primary production?

Please note: Farm working dog means a dog that herds, droves, protects, tends or works stock on land used solely or primarily for primary production under section 3 of the Domestic Animals Act 1994.

If you answered NO to either of these questions, your dog does not qualify as a working dog. 

Owners of working dog breeds that do not meet the primary producer and farm working dog definitions are not eligible for legislative exemptions.

Council is responsible for determining if a dog is a farm working dog, as per the definition. Please complete and submit a Working Dog Registration Application form along with proof of microchipping. Please note: By signing a statutory declaration, you agree that the information you have provided is true and correct. You can be liable to the penalties of perjury if the statutory declaration is false.

Your application will then be assessed to determine if your dog meets the Working dog criteria. If approved by Council, farm working dogs:

  • receive a reduced registration rate with council;

  • do not count towards a property’s fertile female dog breeding limit; and

  • are not required to wear an identification marker outside of the premises if being kept or used or trained as a farm working doing, including when it is going from place to place for that purpose.

For more information, please visit Animal Welfare Victoria's Farm Working Dogs page

Do you have more than 2 dogs registered on your property?

If you have more than 2 dogs or 2 cats on your property, you may require a permit to keep them. 

You can contact the Community Safety Team at Council on 5220 7111 to discuss this requirement.

Download the application for  Excess Animal Permit (keeping more than 2 dogs or 2 cats)

OR   Amend your permit by downloading Amend Excess Animal permit

General tips for keeping your dog

To avoid your dog becoming a problem:

  • Always keep your dog in a secure yard or enclosure or on a leash when out in public. See our Dogs, fences and roaming - Fact Sheet

  • Register and microchip your dog so that if it gets out and is picked up by Council it can be safely returned home. 

  • Train your dog well to return when called and to stay at home.

  • Desex your dog.  Undesexed dogs are a greater risk of aggression to people and other animals and unless you’re a breeder there is little reason to have an undesexed dog.. Desexing your pet - Fact Sheet

  • Socialise your dog with people and other animals. They’re less likely to be aggressive when placed in unusual situations.

Barking Dogs

Your neighbours can complain if your dog is often noisy or unreasonably disturbs the peace.

If you are concerned about a barking dog problem, it is a good idea to talk with your neighbour first as they may not be aware their dog is causing a problem. If noise persists, contact Councils Community Protection Officer to discuss the problem. The Community Protection Officer will provide the dog owner with advice on possible solutions. If the problem cannot be resolved, Council can fine the dog owner.

Menacing Dogs

Dogs that rush out at people or chase people can be declared as menacing under the Domestic Animals Act (1994).

A dog may be declared a menacing dog if:

(a) the dog has rushed at or chased a person more than three times; or

(b) the dog has been declared a menacing dog by another Council.

Please ensure dogs are confined to their property at all times and when walking, please ensure your dog is on a leash and adequately controlled.

Dog Attacks

Most people find it difficult to believe their family pet could attack or kill anything, and it is this disbelief which is often to blame for the lack of confinement that results in typical dog attacks. 

In the majority of cases, livestock and other dogs are the victims of the attack. Attacks of this nature, particularly on livestock occur too frequently and are extremely cruel. Sheep that survive being mauled often need to be put down because their injuries are so severe. 

Council and residents don’t want aggressive or dangerous dogs in the community. Consequently, even if the dog has no history of aggression, the standard outcome is for the attacking dog to be destroyed.  Regardless of whether it is killed by another dog or put down for attacking another animal, the loss of a family pet can be traumatic for the whole family, particularly children.

In addition, the owner of a dog that has attacked may not only have their pet destroyed but also receive fines and have to pay compensation for veterinary costs and the loss of livestock.

To avoid the risk of having your pet destroyed as a consequence of injuring or killing somebody or something, always keep it securely contained on your property or on a leash when out walking.

Always assume your dog is capable of attacking people, livestock and other pets and keep you dog under control at all times.

Biting and aggression - Fact Sheet

If you are the victim of a dog attack, please contact Council on 5220 7111.


Rate this page

Is this page useful?