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Draft Keeping of Domestic Animals Policy

The draft document will remain on public exhibition until 5pm, Friday 23 June 2023, at which time submissions will close.

Draft Keeping of Domestic Animals Policy

PDF – Click to download

Why is the Council exploring a policy on the keeping of domestic animals?

Council has discretionary power to limit the type of animals or number of animals on a property.  Council can also place conditions on the keeping of animals, such as how close a dog kennel is from a property boundary or building.

This stems from Section 124 of the Local Government Act, 1993 which states “a council may order a person…not to keep birds or animals on premises, other than of such kinds, in such numbers or in such manner as specified in the order”.

From time to time, we have exercised this power, most commonly in response to someone raising concerns about animal welfare or residential amenity such as noise or odour from too many animals being kept on a property.  When Council decides to issue an order, the recipient typically feels blindsided.  They are often unaware councils have this power or that their animal is causing a nuisance.  They also feel the limits placed in the order are arbitrary because it is assessed by compliance staff on a case-by-case basis rather than in reference to a council policy.

Council thinks it may be helpful to have a policy on the keeping of domestic animals. It would promote a consistent approach when the Council deems it is appropriate to control the keeping of animals.  It would also provide a reference point for people wishing to raise concerns about the keeping of animals on a neighbouring property.

Limits and operation of the proposed policy

The proposed policy is limited to the keeping of domestic animals in residential settings.  It would not apply in rural areas or to the keeping of animals for commercial purposes.

Council is not proposing to extend or increase the use of the power under Section 124 of the Local Government Act, 1993.  We would continue to investigate matters, generally after a concern is raised with us by a neighbour, and we will not be going “door to door” checking current pet ownership.

We understand that it is not a ‘one size fits all’ situation with the keeping of domestic animals.  So, a key provision in the draft policy is the ability to apply for a variation.  This allows for a property owner to demonstrate they have the capability to keep more animals without compromising their wellbeing or disrupting the amenity of the neighbourhood.

We are keen to hear from our communities

We want to hear from our communities on two key issues:

  • Do you think it would be helpful to have a policy to guide the investigation of concerns about animal welfare and residential amenity from the keeping of domestic animals, or should we leave it to be investigated on a case-by-case basis?
  • And if you think a policy may be helpful, what do you think about the proposed limits on the number of animals?

Draft Operational Plan 2023-24

Please see below Draft Operational Plan 2023-24 and associated documents including:

  • Draft Revenue Policy
  • Draft Fees & Charges
  • Draft Long-Term Financial Plan and Budget

The draft documents will remain on public exhibition until 5pm Monday, 26 June 2023, at which time submissions will close.

How to have your say

Hilltops Council seeks community input and feedback on a range of issues. Stakeholder engagement is an important element of the Council decision-making process.

Comments and submissions must be made in writing so they can be seriously considered by Council. Comments can only be considered as formal submissions if the author’s details are included.

Please note that written submissions may be made public as part of a report to a Council meeting.

Several items can be open for public comment at the same time, submissions must clearly specify which topic is being addressed.

Submissions can be sent by mail to:

General Manager
Hilltops Council
Locked Bag 5,
Young NSW, 2594

Submissions can also be made by email to:

There are a range of ways you can get in touch with us:

Phone: 1300HILLTOPS / 1300 445 586
Mail: Locked Bag 5, Young NSW, 2594
Facebook: @HilltopsCouncil

Applications on Exhibition 

Council will often have Development Applications on public exhibition.  The applications currently on public exhibition and further information regarding tracking Development Applications can be found here.

Please note that information collected by Council in relation to Development Applications including public submissions on Development Applications, is open access information that can be obtained by members of the public under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009. Most of the information collected by Council can be accessed via this Act and in accordance with Council’s Privacy Management Plan.