Responsible dog ownership

Dogs play an important role in our community providing companionship and security. But when dogs are not cared for they can have a negative impact on residents, neighbourhoods and our environment. It is therefore up to each dog owner to be responsible and look after their four-legged friend.

This means:

  • Providing sufficient food and water
  • Desexing yourdog
  • Providing suitable shelter from the elements
  • Playing with your dog daily
  • Completing obedience training and socialising your dog
  • Exercising your dog daily

There are also some legal requirements such as:

  • Registering your dog
  • Renewing the registration each year
  • Microchip your dog
  • Only have two dogs per property, or apply for a permit to have more
  • Have an enclosure that prevents dogs from escaping
  • Prevent your dog wandering at large

Follow the links below for more information on being a responsible dog owner or download our guide to Responsible Dog Ownership ( PDF, 1.41 MB ).

Our Animal Management team has also made some tricks and tips videos to help you and your dog enjoy being out and about in our community.

Dog off-leash areas

There are 51 designated dog off-leash areas in Cairns so there is bound to be one near your home. More

Dog prohibited areas

Dogs are generally welcome in Cairns, however there are some notable exceptions, such as cemeteries, sporting grounds, inside the stinger nets, popular swimming holes, the Cairns Lagoon and CBD. More

Walking your dog

Walking your dog is great way to exercise and socialise your pet. Make sure your dog is on a leash whenever outside your property. More

Keeping your dog at home

Dog owners must ensure their pet does not escape from their home, or cause distress by rushing at people through their fence. More

Reducing barking

Council receives more than 1400 barking complaints each year. Many people don't know their dog barks. Here are some tips to reducing barking. More


Unfortunately there is a significant number of unwanted cats and dogs in the region due to unwanted litters. In Cairns you may have one litter per pet every three year without a permit. Additional litters require you to have a breeder's permit. More

Keeping of cats

You must have a permit if you wish to keep more than two cats on your allotment or premises.  Permit application forms are available from Council offices or in Related Documents at right.

Under Cairns Regional Council Local Law No. 2 (Animal Management) 2011 and Cairns Regional Council Subordinate Local Law No. 2 (Animal Management) 2011, it is prohibited to keep cats on any allotment located in a Conservation Planning area.

Be a responsible cat owner and keep your cat securely in your home at night so that it cannot get into fights with other cats, get runover, or hunt wildlife.  Also remember to desex and microchip your pet at an early age.

From December 2010, it is compulsory to register your cat with Council under the Animal Management (Cats and Dogs) Act 2008. Council offers free registration for cats which are desexed.

For download

Last updated: 16 June 2020