Assistance animals

Guidelines to registering assistance animals with Ku-ring-gai Council

Some companion animals are trained to provide assistance to people with a disability to help alleviate the effect of that disability. They provide an important service that helps people to more fully participate in personal and public life activities with more confidence and independence.

What is an assistance animal?

An assistance animal in NSW is a dog or other animal that is trained to assist a person with a disability to alleviate the effect of that disability, and, to meet standards of hygiene and behavior appropriate for an animal in a public place.A person with a disability has the right to train their own assistance animal so long as he or she can provide proof that that training means the animal meets the definition of an assistance animal.

What is a disability?

Disability covers a wide range of physical and psychological conditions and includes:

  • Total or partial loss of the bodily or mental functions.
  • Total or partial loss of a part of the body.
  • The presence in the body of organisms causing disease or illness.
  • The presence in the body of organisms capable of causing disease or illness.
  • The malfunction, malformation or disfigurement of a part of the person’s body.
  • A disorder or malfunction that results in the person learning differently.
  • A disorder, illness or disease that affects a person’s thought processes, perception of reality, emotions or judgment or that results in disturbed behavior.

What does the owner of an assistance animal need to do?

Like all other companion animals, assistance animals need to be micro-chipped and registered in NSW. However, no fee is charged for registering an assistance animal.

Registration lasts for the life of each animal.It is also strongly recommended that assistance animals are vaccinated and de‑sexed. Do not train a restricted or dangerous dog as an assistance animal.

How do I register my assistance animal?

Once the animal has been microchipped by a vet or authorised identifier, the owner should contact their local council to apply for a no fee registration.

What proof is required?

Council requires proof that your animal is a genuine assistance animal. This means proof:

  • That you have a disability.
  • That your animal has been trained to alleviate the effect of the disability.
  • That your animal is trained to meet standards of hygiene and behavior appropriate for an animal in a public place. Ku-ring-gai requires a passed Public Access Test (PAT) to meet this requirement.

Registration as an assistance animal under the Companion Animals Act 1998 does not necessarily provide proof the animal is an assistance animal for the purposes of entering a public place or public transport.

Entering public places

In general, animals are prohibited from entering certain public places. However, a person with a disability is entitled to be accompanied by an assistance animal in public places and on public transport while he or she is genuinely using the animal for assistance. Entry cannot be refused without reasonable cause.

An animal does not need to be registered as an assistance animal under the Companion Animals Act 1998 to be permitted access to a public place or public transport. Staff in charge of access to public places and transport are entitled to request reasonable proof that your animal is a genuine assistance animal. They may be guided by their organisation’s own policy to help them to determine this. Their policies may be publicly available.

It is unlawful to impose a charge on a person to enter a place open to, or used by the public, only because the person is accompanied by an assistance animal unless:

  • It is reasonably necessary to supply additional accommodation for the animal and a reasonable charge is applied for that accommodation.
  • The owner, or person in charge, of the place reasonably incurs additional expense because the animal is present, the charge is reasonable in the circumstances and is charged to compensate for the expense.

Using public transport

For more information about access to public transport for assistance animals contact Transport for NSW on 131 500.

Assistance animal guidelines(PDF, 694KB)

Enquiries

9424 0000 or kmc@kmc.nsw.gov.au