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Assistance Dogs

This information applies to South Australia​. Please contact your local state or territory if living outside of SA.

What is an assistance dog?

Assistance dogs are trained and used for the purpose of assisting a person living with a disability. They enhance the lives of people living with a physical and/or mental disability.

Public access rights for assistance dogs

Accredited assistance dogs have access to public places, including, but not limited to:

  • Public transport/passenger vehicles
  • Shops, supermarkets and shopping centres
  • Schools, kindergartens, child care centres and pre-schools
  • Housing (incl. strata and tenancy)
  • Accommodation services
  • Work places
  • Restaurants

For more information, refer to our pamphlet 'Assistance Dogs: Access and the law in South Australia'.

Note: Assistance dogs do not automatically qualify for in-cabin travel on aircraft and access to areas of public/ biological health risk. For more information about in-cabin travel, contact your airline or the Civil Aviation Safety Authority.

Demonstrating the dog is an assistance dog

Assistance dogs are accredited by the following prescribed accreditation bodies:

The Dog and Cat Management Board;
The Royal Society for the Blind of SA Inc 
The Guide Dogs Association of SA and NT Inc 
Lions Hearing Dogs Inc 
Assistance Dogs Australia 
Righteous Pups Australia Inc 
Vision Australia 
Guide Dogs WA 
Guide Dogs Queensland 
Guide Dogs NSW/ACT 
Guide Dogs Victoria 
Guide Dogs Tasmania 

Assistance dogs accredited by the Dog and Cat Management Board will be issued an ID card with the 'Government of South Australia' piping shrike graphic, a picture of the handler and a picture of the accredited assistance dog.

Other prescribed accreditation bodies issue their own identification.

The Disability Discrimination Act 1992 is a Commonwealth Act that allows public access for assistance animals. Handlers of assistance dogs may be asked to provide evidence the dog meets the requirements under the Act. For more information, contact the Australian Human Rights Commission info line on 1800 620 241.

Dog and Cat Management Board accreditation application

To apply for assistance dog accreditation by the Dog and Cat Management Board, applicants are required to:

  • Be the dog handler
  • Be 18 years or over
  • Have disability
  • Have a dog that alleviates the disability

Prior to applying, the dog must be:

  • Registered with the local council and microchipped
  • Desexed
  • Trained to consistently meet all the requirements of the public access test

The application process requires the applicant to submit:

  • Application Form
  • Medical Report (form completed by a doctor)
  • Veterinary Report (form completed by a vet)
  • Dog Training Report (form completed by a dog trainer)  

The Dog and Cat Management Board accreditation process requires the handler and dog to undertake a public access test:

  • By an approved assessor
  • Hourly assessment fee payable by the applicant (Currently $120/hour, up to 3.5 hours)  

Please download the following documents for more information about how to prepare and apply for Dog and Cat Management Board assistance dog accreditation:

For more information contact the Dog and Cat Management Board on
08 8124 4962 or email dcmb@sa.gov.au

Useful resources:

FAQ

Strata Titles - A Legal Guide
Legal Services Commission
www.lsc.sa.gov.au
Ph: 1300 366 424

Equal Opportunities Commission
www.eoc.sa.gov.au
Ph: 08 8207 1977

Access for all: Improving accessibility for consumers with disability (2016)
Human Rights Commission
www.humanrights.gov.au
Ph: 1800 620 241

Civil Aviation Safety Authority
www.casa.gov.au/aircraft/cabin-safety/travellers-disability/travelling-assistance-animals
Ph: 131 757

Applicable laws

Dog and Cat Management Act, Section 45A and 81
Equal Opportunities Act 1984, Section 88
Strata Titles Act 1988, Section 19

Disability Discrimination Act 1992
Civil Aviation Act 1988