Fail to Apply to Register a Dog or Cat

Fail to Apply to Register a Dog or Cat is found in section 10(1) of the Domestic Animals Act 1994 in Victoria. It is a criminal offence that is committed by a person who fails to register their dog or cat with the local Council.

Have you been accused of Fail to Apply to Register a Dog or Cat?


An investigator from the local council will interview you if they suspect you are guilty of this offence. Anything you tell the investigator can appear in a brief of evidence against you. So, you must treat this process seriously.

Pleading Not Guilty

If you fail to register you dog or cat in accordance with the local law, your defence is likely going to be a factual one. Do you disagree that your animal isn’t registered? Perhaps your animal does not need to be registered yet. Contact one of our lawyers and we can advise you on possible defences.

Pleading Guilty

If you agree that you failed to register your pet cat or dog, your best course of action is to engage a lawyer to run a plea of guilty on your behalf. A lawyer can advise you on likely penalties, and prepare your case to ensure the best possible outcome. There is often a perfectly good explanation for offending of this kind, and our lawyers can convey this to the court so your actions are understood and dealt with appropriately.


Sentencing in the Magistrates’ Courts of VictoriaSentencing Statistics Pie Chart for Fail to Apply to Register a Dog or Cat in the Magistrates' Court of Victoria Between 2018 and 2021

Which court will the case be heard in?

Cases related to this offence will be heard at the Magistrates’ Courts.

Elements of the offence

The prosecution must prove:

  • That the accused’s dog or cat resides at premises within the municipality alleged; and
  • The dog or cat is not registered with that municipality.
Examples of Fail to Apply to Register a Dog or Cat
  • You own a dog or cat that is older than three months old without registering it with the local council.
  • You move into a new house in a new municipality and fail to register your dog or cat with that council.

The legislation which deals with this offence is section 10(1) of the Domestic Animals Act 1994.1


The main defence to this sort of charge, if you are not pleading guilty, would be a factual dispute.

Questions in cases like this
  • How old is your dog or cat?
  • Have you registered your dog or cat with the local council?
  • Does the dog or cat live with you?
Maximum penalty and court that deals with this charge

The offence of (s10(1) of the Domestic Animals Act 1994) carries a fine of 20 penalty units ($3,223.80) as the highest possible sentence.

You would not normally get a lawyer for a case like this as the fine will generally be less than the lawyers’ fees. There is also the possibility of having a case such as this dealt with by way of diversion.

Other important resources

[1] The owner of a dog or cat must apply to register that dog or cat with the Council of the municipal district in which the