Every Melbourne park you walk through will have dogs and their owners enjoying the fresh air. Melburnians love their animals, but there are some restrictions every pet owner should be aware of.
- You cannot bring animals into restaurants or businesses unless they are a certified Guide Dog for the sight-impaired or disabled.
- There are severe fines for failing to clean up pet waste, which can cost you upwards of $200, and the disdain of your neighbours. Common “petiquette” dictates that owners carry plastic bags with them (sometimes these are provided in parks at trash cans) and leave no surprises behind for others.
- It is not mandatory to microchip your pets, but doing so is very common and highly recommended. For information on where to get your pet microchipped, and various registries, see http://dogdiversity.com.au/Content/microchipping/
- Cats have a curfew at night between 6pm and 6am to protect natural species. If found between these hours they will be impounded and you will be liable for the costs of releasing them (which can be upwards of $300).
- Most Melbourne pets are routinely de-sexed (unless they are kept specifically for breeding) as Victoria has had problems with uncontrolled breeding of feral cats that destroy native wildlife.
- Although plenty of Melburnians have pets, it can make renting an apartment a bit difficult when you first arrive. Many landlords are wary of letting an apartment to tenants who have animals. If a property allows pets, they will usually make this known and ask tenants for an additional ‘pet bond’ as insurance against damage. Pet bonds vary, but usually cost between 25%-50% of the security bond.