Keeping animals

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​The private use or keeping of particular animal species within the city is not actively prohibited.

Council considers that residents are entitled to provide for their own well-being while also recognising that sometimes the keeping of animals can affect the quality of life and well-being of others in the community.  

Where this occurs, Council has a responsibility to protect the community from unreasonable animal nuisances, including wandering stock and nuisance animals.

Check out our animal and dog-related policies and bylaws​ and the information below. Our initiatives are informed by the Animal Welfare Act 1999. ​If you have any concerns about the welfare of any animal please contact your local SPCA (also see Waikato SPCA). You can also report animal welfare issues related to livestock to the Ministry for Primary Industries​ (MPI) - or call their freephone 0800 00 83 33.

If you still need more information about or have any other concerns or queries about keeping animals or animals being kept by others, please get in touch with us. Email us, make an online request for services​ or call us on the following numbers.

Keeping animals - enquiries or report issues 

Dog registration, requests for service, report an incident (including wandering stock) and general enquiries
Phone: 07 838 6632

Impounded, lost and found dogs, and adoption enquiries
Phone: 07 838 6664

After hours
Phone: 07 838 6699

Click on the links below to jump to each topic:


As well as checking out the information below, you may wish to find out more about keeping dogs, in particular:

​​Wandering stock​

The Animal Education and Control Team is responsible for any wandering stock within the city boundaries.

Stock found wandering or straying may be impounded under the provisions of the Impounding Act 1955​. They will be impounded in the nearest accessible stock holding area set aside for this purpose; or in a temporary stock holding area if no existing facility is available/nearby in the interim.

Stock will be released to the owner on payment of the fees and costs associated with impounding. See our fees and charges for more information​.  Report a wandering stock issue - see contact details above.

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Animal nuisances

Our Animal Nuisance Bylaw 2013​ allows for the keeping of animals within the city boundaries, and ensures that there are controls in place to avoid undesirable nuisance issues relating to the keeping of animals.

Report an animal nuisance issue - see contact details above​.

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Keeping a rooster in Hamilton

As part of the Animal Nuisance Bylaw 2013​​, you need a permit to keep a rooster on your property. Please fill out the form below and return to Council to apply for a rooster permit. We will contact you if we need any further information in relation to your application.

Rooster Permit Application Form

To obtain a permit you will need to comply with the following conditions:

  • All roosters must be effectively confined within an enclosure appropriate for the number of birds, the size and breed.
  • Ensure that there is a soundproof enclosure on the property that can be used to eliminate or reduce the noise of any roosters causing a nuisance to neighbouring residents. Ensure that this soundproof enclosure is used as needed.
  • All enclosures must be at least one metre from the boundary fence and five metres from any road or public land.
  • The enclosure must be regularly cleaned.
  • The enclosure must be constructed and maintained to prevent vermin (mice, rats, stoats etc).
  • The rooster must be kept so it does not cause a noise, odour or fly nuisance.

We also suggest that you talk to your neighbours and let them know you are getting a rooster so they can contact you if they have any concerns. 

If your neighbours have a crowing rooster, try approaching them first with your concerns. If you still need our assistance afterwards, get in touch with us - see contact details above​.

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Frequently asked questions

Can I keep chickens or other animals in my Hamilton garden?

Yes this is usually acceptable, subject to no nuisance being caused to your neighbours or health issues under the public Health Act 1956​ In some urban developments in Hamilton, covenants exist which prohibit the keeping of some animals including chickens. Developers place these covenants on areas to provide future residents with security in terms of a particular lifestyle. Please note that Council does not enforce these covenants.

Can I keep a rooster in my Hamilton garden?

Only if you have a rooster permit giving you permission. Please refer above to the 'keeping a rooster in Hamilton' section for further information.

What is a nuisance?

Examples of nuisance complaints which will be upheld and enforced by Council enforcement officers include (but are not restricted to):

  • loud noises from animals such as crowing roosters
  • offensive odours from poorly-kept or maintained animals
  • encroachment of boundaries such as animals escaping or leaning over fences and damaging neighbours' properties.

Can I farm animals for profit in my Hamilton garden?

No, Hamilton City Council's District Plan does not allow for farming in residential areas. Large-scale keeping of animals is not seen as compatible with urban living. If you have concerns relating to this matter you should contact the Planning Guidance Unit - phone 07 838 6800.

Can I stop my neighbours from keeping chickens in their garden?

​Generally Council does not interfere with activities which do not cause a nuisance to neighbours. In some urban developments in Hamilton, covenants exist which prohibit the keeping of some animals including chickens. Developers place these covenants on areas to provide future residents with security in terms of a particular lifestyle. Please note that Council does not enforce these covenants.

Can I keep a horse in my Hamilton garden?

Larger animals need large areas of space. You must ensure that no nuisance is caused to your neighbours. If you have any concerns about the welfare of any animal, please contact your local SPCA (check here for locations - also see Waikato SPCA).

Can I stop my neighbour from killing pigs or goats in their back yard?

You can alert your local SPCA who will ensure that animals are not killed in such a manner that the animal suffers unreasonable or unnecessary pain or distress, in accordance with the Animal Welfare Act 1999. If you have any concerns about the welfare of any animal please contact your local SPCA (also see Waikato SPCA)​.

Can I keep bees in Hamilton?

Yes, you can keep bees in Hamilton as long as this is done on a small scale. Care needs to be taken that your bees do not create a nuisance to neighbours. Council enforcement staff will follow up on any nuisance complaints in the same way as with other nuisance animals.​ Read out Animal Nuisance Bylaw 2013​.​

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Page reviewed: 09 Jun 2021 12:03pm