What does chipped and registered mean?
If you have seen any lost pet posters or ads online you have probably seen people say my pet is chipped and registered? But what does that actually mean? The short answer is it means different things depending on what type of pet you are referring to and where they are located. What is more scary is often when people say their pet is chipped and registered, what they think it means is 9/10 times completely wrong. People often rely on registration as a way of getting their lost or stolen pet home without actually knowing what it does or how it works. So this short podcast is just to explain a bit about what chipped means and what registration means across Australia.
Firstly, lets start with some basics of the microchipping & registration system across Australia:
- There are 7 microchip registries. 1. Was established by the NSW government and managed on a day to day basis by local councils, this was established for people who live in NSW. The other 6 microchip registries are private run national registries that are used in all other states and territories.
- Registration means different things in different states & territories and even in different council areas.
- Dogs, cats, birds, ferrets, rabbits and other animals such as horses and livestock can all be microchipped but not all need to be registered.
Have I confused you? You are not alone, it is a very complicated system, but this podcast is not to explain all the ins and outs of the microchipping system or the pitfalls you can listen to our other specific podcasts on that, this is just to explain the terminology of chipping and registration.
So, initially focusing on chipping of dogs and cats.
In NSW, if your pet is chipped they should be listed on the NSW companion animal register, NSW CAR for short. If you have moved from interstate or overseas you need to visit your local council and place them on the NSW CAR. You fill in a form or a statutory declaration and hand this to the animal registration officer.
If you are in QLD, VIC, TAS, ACT, WA, SA, your pet can be chipped but is listed on your choice of the following registries. Cental Animal records, AAR, petsafe, national pet register, homesafe ID or global micro ID. All of these are national microchip registries and it is your choice, which one you list your pet on. They each have costs (some are free), but ultimately you can choose.
So, which one do you chose? Is one better than another? Let me clarify here, we don’t have any affiliation with any of the microchip registers, our advice is given based on our experience over 23 years of searching for lost and stolen pets. If your pet is lost or stolen, the goal of having them on a microchip registry is so that if your pet ends up in a pound you will get a phone call to say they have been found. This will only happen if your pet is on a microchip registry that the pound checks. So, if you have listened to our microchip podcasts you know already that not all pounds check all registries. So you want to list your pet on the registries that are most commonly checked by most pounds, so here is the list for each state and territory:
IN NSW, most pounds will only check the NSW CAR
In Victoria and the ACT the most commonly checked microchip registries are CAR, AAR and NPR
In Queensland it is AAR, NPR, petsafe and homesafe ID
In South Australia it is AAR and petsafe
In WA , NT, TAS it is CAR and AAR
Of course you can list your pet on 1 or more registry if you like, however as of November 2015 in Victoria an amendment to legislation was made saying that people cannot move their details across microchip registries, although the amendment is under review as it does not allow for consumer choice and prevents competition.
Now onto the more complicated issue, if you didn’t already think chipping was complicated, the issue of what registered or registration means is even more confusing. Registration is not the processing of putting your pet on the microchip register, this is part of being microchipped not registration. Registration is the payment of a fee to the council for the provision of off leash dog parks, rangers, pounds and other animal management services. Your pet can be on a microchip registry without you having paid registration to your council.
In NSW, there is a state wide one off lifetime registration which is paid by dog or cat owners to their local council. The fee is $52 for a desexed dog or cat, $26 for a desexed dog or cat adopted from certain pounds or shelters, or $152 for a dog or cat that is not desexed. This is a one off fee for the life of the pet. Dogs must also wear a collar & tag with a contact number for the owner. Cats do not have to wear a collar & tag. So for a pet to be considered registered in NSW the owner must have paid the fee to the council. This is where a lot of people get confused, they will often say their pet is registered but they often confuse being listed on the microchip registry with registration. Your pet can be listed on the microchip registry without having paid the registration fee. If your pet is on the microchip registry and you haven’t paid the registration fee you can be fined $110 on top of the registration fee. More and more people are being fined because they don’t understand the difference between being microchipped and on the microchip register and being registered.
There is no registration system for rabbits, ferrets or other pets, but often people will say their ferret is microchipped and registered but you will find out they mean their pet is listed on a microchip registry which they are calling being registered.
The ACT – microchipping & desexing is compulsory for dogs and cats but payment of payment of registration is only compulsory for dogs. Like NSW, the registration fee is for the life of the dog and the dog must wear a collar & tag with either a registration tag provided by the council or a tag provided by the owner with the pets registration number on it. Registration is from $18.50 to $51.00 depending on concession eligibility. For cats the ACT they must wear a collar & tag with their the owners phone number or address. You should also be aware that some suburbs in the ACT have been declared cat containment areas whereby cats in those suburbs must be contained to their property at all times and are not allowed to roam.
Now, Victoria. Victoria has compulsory microchipping just like NSW so all dogs and cats must be microchipped and they must be registered with your local council. This registration must be renewed every year. There are various discounts available for concession card holders and other people but the cost varies between councils but it is normally between $25-$50 for a desexed dog or cat and $150 – $200 for a non desexed cat or dog. You receive a tag from the council, which you attach to your pets collar. Some councils offer discounts for dogs that have undergone obedience training, are over 10 years old or animals that have been adopted from some shelters or pounds.
South Australia – unlike Victoria microchips are not compulsory but like Victoria you must pay a registration at your local council and your pet must wear a registration tag on their collar. The cost varies depending if your pet is trained in obedience (up to level 3), desexed, microchipped and if you have a concession card. It can be as low as $14.40 or up to $72.00
Microchipping is compulsory as of November 2015 for all dogs and cats, and cats also must be desexed. They offer 3 levels of cat registration – 1 year registration which is $20 , 3 year registration $42.50 and lifetime registration is $100, or if you hold a concession card it is half these costs. Remember all cats must be desexed. The registration must be renewed each year.
In WA Dogs don’t have to be desexed so there are 2 different costs for desexed or non desexed dogs, 1 yr is $20 for a desexed dog, $50 for non desexed dog, 3 year registration is $42.50 for desexed dog, $120 for non desexed dog, and lifetime registration for a desexed dog is $100 vs $250 for a non desexed dog and half these costs for concession card holders. Dogs & cats must wear a collar & registration tag provided by council.
Northern territory – Northern Territory has varied registration laws according to the local council. In Darwin, for example, dogs and cats are required to be registered . They must also be micro chipped and cannot be registered without. Discounts are offered for desexed animals with registrations. In some other council areas such as Katherine and Palmerston dogs need to be registered but micro chipping is not compulsory and registration is not compulsory for cats.
Queensland – microchipping is compulsory for dogs and cats and registration is compulsory. Registration must be renewed each year and the fee ranges from $46 for a desexed dog to $132 for a non desexed dog with concession card holders receiving a 50% discount on these fees. Registration of cats varies council to council so you need to speak to your council about this
In Tasmania microchipping is compulsory for dogs and cats and desexing is compulsory for cats. Registration is compulsory for dogs aross the state but it is up to each council as to whether they want to have registration for cats so check with your council. Dog registration is renewable every year and ranges from $9 for concession card holders up to $58 depending on if your dog is desexed and if you pay before the due date of renewal each year.
So, hopefully you can see that the word registration means different things to different people and many people assume that microchipping and registration are one in the same, but they are 2 separate things that do sometimes go hand in hand but not always, and often people don’t learn the difference until they get a fine from the council for not having their pet registered. So don’t get caught out. If you are unsure if you have paid your registration for your pet or renewed it each year if you are in any other state besides NSW call your council. 1 phone call could save you hundreds of dollars in fines.