Once you register your pet, you need to make sure they are consistently cared for and looked after. You need to feed them and keep them safe and healthy. Depending on what sort of pet you have, this might involve walking them, keeping them inside on hot days, giving them enough room, keeping them inside at night, or training them.
Does your animal need to be registered?
All cats and dogs over the age of 3 months in Merri-bek must be registered with us. This is required under the 'Domestic Animals Act 1994' which you can read on the Legislation Victoria website. If your dog or cat is over 3 months old and not registered, you may get a fine. You can find more information on how to register your animal on our Pet Registration page.
Do you have multiple pets?
There is a limit to how many animals can be kept without a permit within Merri-bek. We want to make sure all pets have enough space and are cared for. It is important to familiarise yourself with how many animals you can keep by reading the information on our Keeping multiple pets page.
Walking your dog
You need to take your dog for a walk so that they stay happy and healthy. When you walk your dog, you must keep them on a leash or cord that you hold tightly when you are in any public place.
You must keep control of your dog and make sure they're kept on their leash or cord when they are within:
- 1 metre of a shared pathway or footpath
- 15 metres of any playground or children’s play equipment
- an organised sporting or community event or festival
- an organised public meeting, or
- a permanent barbecue or picnic area when in use by people
Your dog is not allowed to be in a playground or in any creek or waterway.
You can take your dog's leash or cord off when in an off-leash park.
You can find out more about off-leash dog areas by reading the Council Order regarding off-leash dog areas (PDF).
Off-leash parks are areas where dogs can exercise and play without a leash or cord.
An off-leash park will have a sign saying it is off-leash. If you go to one of these parks:
- you must not let your dog threaten another dog or person
- you must still carry your dog's leash or cord so that you can control your dog if they threaten any other dog or person
- you must stay near your dog
Gilpin Park in Brunswick and Richards Reserve in Coburg North are Merri-bek's enclosed off-leash dog parks. You can find out more about these parks on our Find a park page.
You can also see a list of all of the dog parks in Merri-bek on our Park amenities and equipment page.
Picking up after your dog
You must always pick up after your dog and dispose of the waste in a rubbish bin. It is an offence if you do not. It is also an offence to not carry a dog waste bag.
We do not give out plastic bags for the removal of dog waste in Merri-bek off-lead parks. There are some parks which have dispensers, however, you can not rely on these and must bring your own.
You are responsible for carrying bags and getting rid of waste yourself.
You can be fined for failing to carry bags and disposing the waste from your animal. The penalty for this breach is 3.5 penalty units which can mean a fine of $350.
Caring for your pets
Caring for your pet means looking after their health, making sure they are secure in your property and that they aren't distressed. You can find out more about how to care for your pet below.
Fireworks can be really scary for animals. The loud noises can upset a lot of pets and they may try to escape from your home or backyard so that they can get away from the noise. On New Year's Eve and any other fireworks nights, you can:
- keep your pets inside all night and close the windows, doors, blinds and curtains
- turn on the TV or radio for background noise
- stay at home with your pet and try to distract them with treats and games
If your cats and dogs are microchipped, registered and have a collar with your phone number, they can be returned to you if they run away during fireworks.
On really hot days, it's important to make sure your pet is safe and not distressed by the heat. Cats and dogs cannot cool themselves down in the same way we do, so can easily overheat. To keep your pet cool during hot days, make sure they always have cool, fresh water to drink and a shady, comfortable place to rest. Find more tips for keeping your pet safe in the heat visit the Agriculture Victoria website.
If you have a cat, you need to keep them inside at night. This is important to remember so that your cat doesn't:
- attack birds and other wildlife
- get hit by a car
- transmit diseases
- spray, scream or bother neighbours
You need to lock your cat inside with a bed, water and a kitty-litter. See our flyer on keeping your cat safe and inside your property for more information.
If you have a bird, it is important to give them a cage that has enough room for them to spread their wings and move round. The cage needs to be somewhere where it is not too hot, sunny, cold or windy. You will need to feed your bird a healthy and appropriate diet. See the Agriculture Victoria website for more information.
If you have more than a certain number of birds, you may need an excess animal permit.
You can find out more information about dog and cat ownership in our Information for dog and cat owners flyer (PDF).
If you would like further information on responsible pet ownership and tools to help care for your pet, please visit the below websites:
Cat vaccine shortage: managing the situation – November 2023
A widespread cat vaccine shortage is currently affecting Australia due to disruptions in the supply chain caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. While many veterinary clinics may still have some vaccines in stock, they are facing challenges in restocking their supplies from manufacturers and wholesalers. The shortage is expected to persist through early 2024, with limited availability projected later this year.
The simplest and most effective measure to protect your cat during this shortage is to keep them indoors.
Cat vaccine shortage: Frequently Asked Questions
Veterinarians are taking measures to protect the safety of cats with the current vaccine shortage. The guidance regarding how to use the available vaccine supply to safeguard the Australian cat population is to prioritise kittens and, if possible, delay adult boosters. Kittens, unvaccinated adult cats, and cats in animal shelters are the most vulnerable to infections and, therefore, in greater need of protection. Veterinarians will prioritise these categories of animals for vaccination.
Speak to your vet for advice.
Traditionally, catteries require all cats to be fully vaccinated before entry. If you plan to board your cat, it's advisable to engage in early discussions with the cattery regarding their specific requirements. Additionally, consult with your veterinarian. In cases where vaccines are unavailable, antibody titre testing may serve as an alternative. Alternatively, consider exploring alternative arrangements such as house-sitters or in-home care.
Delaying revaccination for your adult cats can help the allocation of available vaccines to protect more vulnerable kittens.
Some services at the wat djerring Animal Facility are being impacted. At this point:
- animal adoptions are proceeding as usual and all cats and kittens available for adoption are fully vaccinated.
- the Facility is only accepting surrendered cats if they have been fully vaccinated.
- the acceptance of stray cats is still ongoing; however, this is being monitored and is subject to change.
- our cat trapping program has been temporarily paused until we can confirm our next vaccine delivery.
Responsible pet ownership and children
Kids can learn a lot about responsibility and frienship when living with pets. It is important you educate your kids about safety around pets.
There are some great resources from Animal Welfare Victoria about children and pets: