NZ Legal Responsibilities

The Laws and Responsibilities

So the first thing you need to realise is that registration in New Zealand is a legal obligation under the Dog Control Act 1996. That means you legally bound to register your puppy with your local council by the age of 3 months or within 14 days if you get an adult dog.

Failure to do so could result in a fine or in some cases a 50% admin charge on your registration. The worse case senario is that your puppy /dog could be seized by dog control.

In New Zealand many councils have limitations on the number of dogs you are allowed to keep without gaining prior permission. In most urban residential area you are limited to 2 dogs.

You also have legal obligations through the Animal Welfare Act 1999. The Act establishes a duty upon the owners or persons in charge of animals to care for those animals properly.It sets out the obligations of animal owners or people in charge of animals. They have to meet an animal’s physical, health and behavioural needs, and must alleviate pain or distress. The Act defines ‘physical, health, and behavioural needs’ as: 

  • proper and sufficient food
  • proper and sufficient water
  • adequate shelter
  • the opportunity to display normal patterns of behaviour
  • appropriate physical handling
  • protection from, and rapid diagnosis of, injury and disease.
  • Ill treatment or neglect of animals is a crime, and this is also defined in the Act.

The Act contains provisions to prevent ill treatment and inadequate care of animals. Under this act the SPCA can if necessary seize your dog, it can then becomes the property of the SPCA. It also regulates the use of traps and devices that have the potential to cause pain or distress to animals.

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