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Registering your pet is good for you and your community

16 Mar 2023

Registering your pet with council, and keeping these details up to date, is really important to keep them safe. If your pet is lost and one of our animal patrol officers finds them, we can bring them straight back to your home.

Pet registration also tells us how many pets are living in Merri-bek. Registration fees help us fund dog parks, desexing programs, the Epping Animal Welfare Facility, and our animal management staff.

We rely on pet owners to notify us if their details change or they no longer have the pet.

Registration fees are due across Victoria on 10 April every year. We will send you a renewal notice by email or post – whichever method you told us you prefer. We will then send a reminder notice by post to pet owners that haven’t paid on time.

Registering your pet is part of responsible pet ownership. Council’s Domestic Animal Management Plan 2021-2025 focuses on responsible pet ownership and animal welfare.

  • Each year our team issues Animal Renewal Notices to all registered pet owners in Merri-bek. This provides a renewal date of April 10, which is the same each year. This renewal notice is sent via email for those who have indicated this as their preferred method – or in the mail via Australia Post. 

    We also remind our community of the deadline through our social media pages, our newsletter, advertisements, conversations with pet owners in parks and other channels. 

  • Our team has been working hard to get our animal records as accurate as possible. We always send a renewal notice and if needed a reminder letter. 

    Prior to issuing an infringement, we send a reminder letter to pet owners who have not yet paid. Last year we waited until July to issue infringements, a full 3 months after the payment deadline. 

    Our aim is to work with our community to reduce the likelihood of infringements, and only issue infringements when all other options have been exhausted.  

    More than 86% of registered pet owners in Merri-bek paid their renewal notice in 2022 before we issued infringements. 

  • We have been encouraging those with infringements to contact us and discuss their options. If you are experiencing financial hardship or hold a concession card, we can organise a payment plan. This will give you more time to pay the fine. 

    As at March 2023, we have received around 1300 requests for internal review regarding infringements issued in 2022. We have withdrawn 56% of these, mostly on compassionate grounds.  

    We are required to refer any unpaid infringement notices to Fines Victoria or the Magistrates’ Court. We have given pet owners as much time as we can to pay their fines, but will refer the remaining fines soon. 

  • Pet registration helps us understand how many pets live in Merri-bek, and also funds off leash and fenced dog parks, free desexing programs, responsible pet ownership education campaigns, emergency animal welfare boarding and animal welfare programs.  

    The pet registration fees also go towards funding our Animal Management staff who keep the community safe by patrolling parks and streets, picking up stray cats and dogs, auditing domestic animal businesses, investigating dog attacks/bites and rushing incidents, returning registered pets home and attending to nuisance complaints. The fees also fund an after hours animal management service that responds to dog attacks and call outs to assist injured animals. 

    Learn more about pet registration here.

  • Animal registration infringements are a last option to obtain annual renewals from a pet owner, if all other avenues have been exhausted.  

    Annual pet registration renewals are important so we have your pets most up-to-date information in case we ever need to reunite you with your pet if they become lost.

  • If you believe that you have received an animal registration infringement unfairly, you can lodge an application for internal review or contact us on 9240 1111.

  • Over recent years we have seen a significant increase in the number of pets in Merri-bek. This could be because of more residents choosing to adopt or own new pets during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

    Compared to previous years, Council has issued a similar number of animal registration infringements as a proportion of total animal owners.