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Working Dogs

Under the NSW Companion Animals Regulation 2018 (external link) a working dog (as defined) is exempt from registration if it is ordinarily kept on land defined and rated as farmland. The definition of a working dog is: a dog used primarily for the purpose of droving, tending, working or protecting stock, and includes a dog being trained as a working dog.

If you have a working dog, (as defined above), but the dog does not reside on land defined and rated as Farmland it must be microchipped and registered, however a nil dollar (free) registration fee applies.

There are two avenues for the "working dog" owner to establish the dog as a working dog.
  1. The first is for a Tweed Shire Council Ranger to visit the property to witness the dog perform the duties as a working dog.
  2. The second is for the owner to sign a Statutory Declaration establishing that the dog is a working dog, listing the duties the dog performs. This Statutory Declaration must be witnessed and signed by a Justice of the Peace. Council may still choose to visit the property to witness the dog perform the duties as a working dog.
Hunting dogs and guard dogs do not have any special status as working dogs under the Companion Animals Act.

Assistance Animals

An assistance animal is an animal that is trained to provide assistance to people with a disability to help alleviate the effect of that disability.

In NSW, an Assistance Animal is an animal that is either:
  1. accredited under a law of a State or Territory that provides for the accreditation of animals trained to assist a person with a disability to alleviate the effect of that disability; or
  2. accredited by an animal training organisation prescribed by the Commonwealth; or
  3. trained to assist a person with a disability to alleviate the effect of that disability, and, to meet standards of hygiene and behaviour appropriate for an animal in a public place.
This is based on how assistance animals are defined in Commonwealth law (Disability Discrimination Act 1992). Currently neither the Commonwealth or NSW laws provide for the accreditation of assistance animals. However other States including South Australia, Queensland and Western Australia have accreditation systems.

In considering an application to register an animal as an “Assistance Animal” Council requests proof that the:
  • person/owner has a disability (medical certificate required)
  • animal has been trained to alleviate the effect of the disability; and
  • animal has been trained to meet standards of hygiene and behaviour appropriate for an animal in a public place. (Pass of a Public Access Test - PAT or equivalent)
  • proof of desexing (certificate of sterilisation required)
A therapy animal is an animal that engages in therapeutic activity to improve a person’s general wellbeing and quality of life, or an animal that is used to facilitate counselling or psychotherapy.

Other companion animals may be used as therapy animals. A therapy animal is an animal that engages in therapeutic activity to improve a person’s general wellbeing and quality of life, or an animal that is used to facilitate counselling or psychotherapy.

However, the Companion Animals legislation does not provide an exemption from the payment of lifetime registration fees for animals being used as therapy animals.


Please see link for further information on Assistance Animals Assistande and Therapy Animal Information (452kB PDF).

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