Guide to fee free assistance animal registration
Some companion animals are trained to assist people with a disability to help them take part in activities with more confidence and independence.
What is an assistance animal?
In NSW an assistance animal is a dog or other animal that is trained to assist a person with a disability to ease the effect of that disability. The animal needs to meet standards of hygiene and behaviour appropriate for an animal in a public place. A person with a disability has the right to train their own assistance animal. He or she must provide proof that 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, or that results in disturbed behaviour, perception of reality, emotions or judgement.
What does the owner of an assistance animal need to do?
Like all other cats and dogs, 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 micro chipped, the owner should contact their local council to apply for fee free 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 behaviour 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 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. He or she must genuinely be using the animal for assistance. Entry cannot be refused without reasonable cause.
An animal does not need to be lifetime registered as an assistance animal to be permitted access to a public place or public transport. Staff at public places and transport are entitled to ask for 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 charge a fee for entry to 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. Only a reasonable fee must be charged for that accommodation.
- The owner, or person in charge, of the place reasonably incurs additional expense because the animal is present. The fee must be 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)
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