Council officers will impound dogs when they are found straying.
Impounding dogs (pdf)
First priority is to return the dog home after contacting the owner if the dog is identified by a collar and tag and/or microchip. Members of the public sometimes capture straying dogs and take them directly to the RSPCA as well.
Seizing a dog from its property
Council officers can seize a dog from its property if it has been involved in an attack within the preceding 72 hours and if Council believes that the dog is not able to be secured safely on its property. Council officers leave a notice of seizure on the property if this has occurred.
Council officers may seize a dangerous or restricted dog if an officer is satisfied dangerous and restricted dog control requirements have not been met.
A claim for release of a seized dog from Council's pound may be made only if Council is satisfied that the relevant control requirements are capable of being met.
Council officers and members of the public sometimes set traps to capture cats suspected of causing damage to property or the environment. Where cats are identified by a collar and tag and/or microchip, Council's first priority is to return the cat home if the owner can be contacted.
Members of the public sometimes take trapped cats directly to the RSPCA.
How long are impounded animals held
Animals that are not identified by a microchip are held at the Pound for seven days. Microchipped animals are held for 14 days. Animals that remain unclaimed become the property of the RSPCA. Animals suitable for re-homing are then made available for purchase from the RSPCA Rutherford. Animals that are assessed as unsuitable for health or behavioural reasons are humanely euthanised.
Impound and sustenance fees
Council charges impound and sustenance fees to recover some of the costs associated with providing a pound service. Fees are charged on a daily basis, so the sooner an animal is claimed, the less it costs. All fees must be paid prior to the release of the animal.
The NSW Companion Animal Act requires all impounded animals must be microchipped and lifetime registered prior to release from a Pound. This includes animals that would otherwise be subject to an exemption, such as working dogs, greyhounds, or animals less that six months of age. Council is unable to waive or reduce these fees, however desexed animals are cheaper to register.
The costs of lifetime registration are:
- Desexed animal (owned by a pensioner) $23.00
- Desexed animal (except one owned by pensioner) $55.00
- For animal not desexed and owned by registered breeder $55.00
- For an animal not desexed $201.00
All owners are encouraged to desex their animals. The cost of registration is a lot lower for desexed animals, and desexed animals grow up cleaner, healthier, quieter and are less inclined to roam.
Hunter Animal Watch is a voluntary organisation that aims to reduce the number of unwanted cats and dogs in the Hunter by offering financial assistance to people on low incomes to desex their animals. For further information contact 02 4961 6133 between 11am and 3pm Monday to Friday.
Fines, notices and orders
After the release of your animal from the pound, you may receive further correspondence from Council about the incident that led to your animal being impounded. This may involve fines and/or notices and orders, depending on the circumstances.
Contact Council on 02 4974 2000.
RSPCA Tighes Hill
75 Elizabeth Street
Ph 02 4961 4852
6-10 Burlington Place
Ph 02 4939 1555