A summary of information for all dog owners.

Laws relating to dogs

The Dog Control Act 1996, is the legislative tools used across New Zealand to control dogs and sets out rules for dog owners. Its intention is to ensure dogs are provided with sufficient food and water and adequate exercise, that dogs do not cause a nuisance in the community and that dogs do not attack or injure people, stock, poultry, domestic animals or protected wildlife. It also sets out the penalties for not complying with the Act.

The Act requires each council to develop its own dog control policy, and a dog control bylaw to enforce its policy. The Council’s Dog Control Policy [PDF, 377 KB] sets out where dogs are prohibited or where they must be on a leash in the district. It contains a lot of other useful information for dog owners.

Things you should know when exercising your dog

  • Always carry a means of picking up dog poo after your dog, e.g. paper or plastic bags and hygienically disposing into your household red bin.
  • Always carry a leash to control your dog when in a public place – this is a legal requirement but is also helpful if you come across a situation requiring your dog to be leashed to keep it safe or to protect people, animals or wildlife.
  • Dogs must always be on a leash on roads and footpaths (including grass berms and verges), as well as in all car parks, boat ramps, state highways and private ways.
  • Dogs are prohibited from all Council children’s playgrounds (within one metre of playground surfaces, equipment and fencing), skate parks (within one metre of skate park), from Council swimming and paddling pools, and specified city beaches during summer.
  • Dogs behave best when trained to respond to the owner's commands if they are to be off-leash in a public place. Its the dog owners responsibility to control your dog.
  • Observe and obey all Council signs when exercising your dog.

Leashed and prohibited areas

  • Dogs are prohibited in some areas and must be on a leash in other areas. These are set out in the Dog Control Policy [PDF, 377 KB] and can be viewed on an interactive map.
  • If an area is not prohibited to dogs the dog may be unleashed but must be under effective control.
  • Under effective control means being aware of where the dog is and what it is doing, and ensuring it is responsive to commands and not creating a nuisance.
  • Exercising your dog
  • Dog-friendly spaces

Other matters

  • All puppies must be registered by three months of age – view the Council’s dog registration page for more information.
  • Anyone over the age of 16 in charge of a dog is legally responsible for the actions of that dog.
  • All dogs travelling on vehicles must be attached by a lead or chain short enough to prevent the dog falling off the vehicle and to prevent the dog being able to reach out and attack people that may be walking by.
  • Dog owners must take all reasonable steps possible to ensure that their dogs do not cause a nuisance to people by barking or howling in a loud and persistent manner.
  • Barking dogs
  • Microchipping and de-sexing
  • Dog health
    • Dogs must receive adequate exercise appropriate to the size, age and breed of dog. Consideration should be given to these factors when choosing a pet.
    • Dog owners should provide dogs with sufficient food and clean fresh water at all times.
    • A warm, weather proof, suitably sized kennel must be provided for all dogs. Consider things like dampness, shade, draft, sunlight and neighbours when choosing a location for your dog’s home.
  • If you have a female dog in season, you cannot exercise or transport her unnecessarily and should keep her confined.
  • If your dog has a contagious disease, it is illegal for you to walk them in a public place.
  • Dogs should be vaccinated annually for Canine distemper, hepatitis, parvo-virus and Kennel Cough. These viral diseases are highly contagious and potentially fatal, especially in puppies. For more information consult your vet. 
  • Raw offal (any internal organs of sheep, goats, pigs, cattle, horses, deer,) must be treated by cooking for at least 30 minutes, prior to feeding to dogs.
  • All sheep and goat meat must either be cooked thoroughly or frozen for a minimum of seven days at ‐10 degrees.
  • Wandering dogs. Is your property fully secure to prevent your dog from wandering? Be aware that dogs can push out loose fence palings to escape.
  • Lost/found a dog
  • Animal Shelter
  • Christchurch City Council fees and charges including Dog Control Act 1996 Infringement Offences and Fees.

Current dog owners