What are the main changes to the existing By-laws?

    The main changes include:

    • acknowledging Larrakia country and people
    • clarifying controls on lighting fires at home and illegal camping
    • introducing cat containment controls for special cat control areas where there are biodiversity concerns
    • introducing new animal provisions for domestic livestock, such as horses and chickens
    • refining the process and controls for dangerous dogs 
    • increasing penalties for dangerous dogs, illegal dumping and unauthorised driving down a pedestrian mall.

    Are there changes to the way I look after my cat?

    For the first time Council will have the opportunity to declare areas Special Cat Control areas and owners will need to ensure that their cats are indoors or kept in enclosed cat runs. 

    It will be an offence for a cat to be ‘at large’ and not under effective control, such as on a leash or in a cat enclosure.

    Is Council cracking down on dangerous dogs?

    There is now only one category of what constitutes a dangerous dog. The dangerous dog status cannot be revoked or challenged once declared and the proposed changes have strengthened the obligations of how owners control the dog once it is declared dangerous.

    Under its By-laws review, City of Darwin is proposing increasing the fine for dog attacks from $972 to $1458.

    Why aren’t there Territory-wide laws on dangerous dogs?

    City of Darwin is committed to socially responsible pet ownership and ensuring the wellbeing of our community and environment.

    By-laws related to animal management strengthen the obligations of owners once a dog is declared dangerous to reduce dog attacks and increase and prioritise safety of the community and other pets.

    City of Darwin is proposing increasing the fine for dog attacks from $972 to $1458.

    City of Darwin supports a model whereby Northern Territory legislation provides a Territory-wide legislated framework for animal management. Until that legislation is in place City of Darwin is strengthening aspects of our By-laws to address community concerns.

    Can I keep chickens at my home?

    While City of Darwin has always encouraged responsible ownership of all animals, this will be the first time it has introduced By-Laws regulating domestic livestock, such as horses and poultry in Darwin.

    Under the revised By-laws, chickens (not roosters) are prohibited from being kept in Darwin except on land zoned for domestic livestock, community living or community purpose under the Planning Act 1999

    Clarification: City of Darwin’s intent is to allow chickens to be kept on land used or developed for single dwellings on lots greater than 600 square metres or at community gardens, schools or within rural living zones.

    A person who keeps chickens cannot have more than six, and must ensure they are properly contained.

    It is an offence if a person keeps an animal that is not allowed by the By-laws.

    Can I keep a horse in my yard at home?

    Clarification: Horses may be kept in Darwin on land within the zones rural living and organised recreation under the NT Planning Scheme.

    It is an offence if a person keeps an animal that is not allowed by the By-laws.

    Can I still light a fire in my yard?

    Under the proposed changes to the By-laws people will be allowed to light a fire in a fire pit constructed of stone or metal, in addition to a barbecue or fireplace, but only if it is safely contained and supervised.

    Have the penalties increased?

    Some penalties have had minor increases and City of Darwin is proposing further increases in penalties for the following offences:

    • dog attacking a person or another animal
    • owner of a dangerous dog not undertaking the appropriate controls for the dog
    • driving or parking a vehicle, other than an emergency vehicle, in a pedestrian mall.

    Who are the stakeholders City of Darwin consulted with to draft the new By-laws?

    City of Darwin has consulted with the following stakeholders on the proposed new By-laws:

    • Activate Darwin
    • Anti-Discrimination Commission
    • Animal Management Regional and Remote Indigenous Communities
    • Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance of the NT
    • Australian Library Association Users NT
    • Casuarina Landcare
    • Chamber of Commerce NT
    • Cycling NT
    • City of Darwin Advisory Committees - Access and Inclusion Committee, Arts and Cultural Development Advisory Committee, Youth Advisory Committee
    • Darwin City and Waterfront Retailers Association
    • DiversAbility Collective
    • Environment Centre NT
    • Environmental Protection Authority
    • Hospitality NT
    • Larrakia Nation Aboriginal Corporation
    • Life Without Barriers
    • Local Government Association of the NT 
    • Multicultural Council of the NT
    • Music NT
    • North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency
    • Northern Territory Council of Social Services
    • NT Shelter
    • Northern Territory Government departments and branches - animal welfare, Library and Archives NT, Department of Health, Department of Local Government, Housing and Community Development, Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics, Department of Environment, Parks and Water Security, Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade
    • NT Police Fire and Emergency Services
    • PAWS
    • Power and Water
    • Property Council NT
    • RSPCA 
    • Surf Life Saving Association
    • Top End Rehoming Group
    • Veterinary Board NT
    • The Y Northern Territory (YMCA)

    What animals are referred to as livestock?

    Livestock includes crocodiles, cattle, buffalo, camels, sheep, goats, pigs, deer, poultry, llamas and alpacas.

    Livestock is prohibited from being kept in Darwin unless:

    • keeping it is expressly allowed under the By-law
    • it is kept on land zoned within rural living under the NT Planning Scheme 2020.

    Can I keep honey bees at home?

    Under the proposed By-laws, honey bees can be kept in Darwin.

    Why is City of Darwin consulting about the revised By-laws?

    City of Darwin is consulting with the general public and key stakeholders to make sure the By-laws are easy to understand, practical and reflect input from the community.