Keeping animals

Find out about keeping animals on residential properties and how to set up an animal boarding establishment.

Keeping animals on residential properties

Domestic animals are an important part of many households. However, they need to be kept in a way that protects the public from nuisance, maintains public health and safety, and protects the welfare of the animal.


If you want to keep bees in your garden, the position of your hive is important. Bees establish a single flight path and drop wax and waste along their way. Hives on private property must not affect neighbouring properties and public spaces.
The Council’s Environmental Health Officers will respond to complaints where bees might be causing any nuisance or danger to other residents.
If you want to establish a hive on Council-administered land (e.g. at a community garden), you will need a licence. See our guidelines to find out more about what conditions need to be met to receive a licence.
Contact Apiculture New Zealand about beekeeping registration and disease prevention in your area.

By early 2018, all domestic cats over the age of 12 weeks must be microchipped and the cat’s microchip registered with the New Zealand Companion Animal Register.
The bylaw on microchipping cats was passed at the Environment Committee on 4 August 2016.
89% of all submitters and 82% of cat owners who submitted on the Animal Bylaw supported the introduction of compulsory microchipping.

All cats over the age of 12 weeks are covered by the bylaw.
The bylaw will come into place in early 2018, giving owners 18 months to meet the new requirement for cats to be microchipped.
Microchipping doesn’t hurt cats.

Benefits of microchipping your cat

Microchipping helps protect your cat and supports you as a pet owner.
Microchips are reliable, unlike cat collars, which often come off.
Cats that are microchipped can be easily identified and returned to their owner if they become lost or separated.
Following the Christchurch earthquakes, over 80% of microchipped cats were quickly reunited with their owners after the quake, compared with only 15% of non-microchipped cats
Microchipping is recommended as best practice by the Ministry for Primary Industries in their Companion Cats – Code of Welfare 2007.

Stray cats

Sometimes the Council gets complaints about stray cat colonies and the solution is to catch them.
If a domestic cat with a microchip is picked up by mistake, it will be released or – if reported as lost – returned to its owner.
+What’s involved

You can get your cat microchipped at your local vet.
You will then need to register your cat’s microchip with the NZ Companion Animal Register


Under the bylaw:
• goats must wear an ear tag (an RFID tag or similar) or collar to indicate that they are not feral
• all goats kept in the city must be kept confined on their owner’s property.


There are welfare and health requirements that owners need to meet when keeping birds. Check the Wellington Consolidated Bylaw 2008, Part 2 Animals for more information.


Roosters are not allowed to be kept in urban areas. Crowing roosters are nuisance issue for urban communities. However, you can apply for permission from the Council to keep roosters in an urban area.
If you want to seek permission to keep a rooster, contact a Public Health Officer.

Chickens and other poultry

Choose a location for your poultry carefully. Compact residential neighbourhoods are often unsuitable. Keep fowl houses and aviaries clean so they do not attract flies, rats, mice and stoats.
Under the bylaw:
• Poultry must be adequately contained to the owner’s property.
• Permission is required to keep more than 8 poultry.

Animal boarding establishments

If you are running or setting up an animal boarding establishment, you must apply for a certificate of registration.

Your certificate of registration should be displayed within your establishment so the public can see it.

Welfare standards

Boarding establishments must comply with the government’s animal welfare code. Consult the Code of Welfare for the Temporary Housing of Companion Animals to find out what standards you need to meet.

Resource consent

You may need a resource consent if there are environmental impacts or land zoning changes.

Building consent

You may need a building consent for construction, plumbing or drainage work.

New establishments or complaints 

To discuss setting up an animal boarding establishment or other nuisance issues, contact the Animal Liaison Officer or an Environmental Health Officer.