Keeping Animals

If you want to keep a few chickens in your backyard or have the space to keep a horse, there are some things you need to know to make sure your animals are healthy and your neighbours happy. 

It is important for dogs and cats, and all animals kept, have the right housing and are properly cared for. 

Find out what you can do so your animals, your neighbours and the community live together happily.


We encourage dog owners to be aware of their basic responsibilities including: 

  • Providing the right housing for the breed of dog they own
  • Exercising the dog regularly to avoid problems that boredom creates e.g. barking
  • Not allowing the dog to roam
  • Keeping the dog leashed and under effective control in public places
  • Being aware of local off-leash and prohibited areas Dog Off-Leash Guide
  • Making sure the dog’s waste is picked up in public places
  • Understanding that excess barking may cause problems
  • Making sure the dog is microchipped and registered
  • Being prepared to correct problems so neighbours and the community are safe and happy


We encourage cat owners to keep their cat indoors or in an enclosure outside to keep them safe and to protect wildlife. We also encourage cat owners to be make sure their cat is microchipped and registered.


Poultry includes chickens, turkeys, ducks, and geese. Chickens must not be a health risk or nuisance and poultry yards must be kept clean and free of offensive odours. It’s important to note:  

  • You cannot keep roosters in residential areas
  • If you can no longer keep your poultry, contact Shoalhaven Animal Shelter
  • Do not dump poultry on public land

Learn more: 

For more information contact our Environmental Health Team.


The keeping of birds for pets and/or breeding is a popular activity for many people.

The activity however, can result in public health and nuisance complaints if the aviaries are poorly kept and maintained. Keeping birds can result in offensive odours and the attraction of mice and other vermin if aviaries are not regularly cleaned.

Caged birds should be kept in a manner which does not cause any nuisance to neighbouring properties or result in unhealthy conditions or offensive odours.

Learn more:

For more information contact our Environmental Health Team.


If you are concerned about a bee swarm or for help with information about bees or beekeepers, please contact the Department of Primary Industries.

If the bee swarm is on Council land, please contact Council.


It is possible to keep horses in suburban areas, towns and villages, however there are guidelines you will need to follow.

For more information on horse riding on beaches and foreshores, view our Responsible Horse Riding on Beaches & Foreshores Fact Sheet

Livestock & other animals

  • Cattle, sheep, pigs, goats or roosters are all examples of livestock and should not be kept in residential areas
  • Your animals should not be able to roam on public land. If livestock roam on public land Ranger Services may be called to investigate
  • If your livestock enters your neighbours property it is a civil matter between you and your neighbour

Last updated on 23 February 2021