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We understand... you and your dog you and your cat now is the time to register your dog desexing cats leads to less unwanted kittens that every dog can bite that Good owners lead to good dogs that good cats have purrfect owners


New dog and cat laws - handy overview

If you’re a dog or cat owner, breeder or seller, changes to South Australia’s laws will affect you. These changes, which include new requirements for microchipping, desexing and breeder registration, are being phased in over the next 18 months, with new standards and guidelines for breeders and sellers taking effect from August 2017.

What follows is a handy overview of the changes that affect you.

You can download a printable PDF of the changes here

New fines and expiations

From 1 July 2017, many fines and expiations for irresponsible dog and cat owners will increase.

You can read the official media release here (PDF)

These tougher penalties, along with increased council powers to investigate and prosecute offenses, including the ability to seize evidence and compel owners to give their name and address, will help address the problem of dog attacks, and remind owners of their legal responsibilities.

What follows is an example of how the new penalties compare to the old fine structure. Additional fines will take effect in mid 2018 when rules regarding microchipping, breeder registration and desexing begin.

Penalties – Old V New

Allowing a dog to harass, attack or chase another person or animal:

  • Old expiation: $210 
  • New expiation: $315 ($750 for prescribed breeds)
  • Old maximum penalty: $2500
  • New maximum penalty: $2500 ($5000 for prescribed breeds)

Dog wandering at large

  • Old expiation: $80 ($210 prescribed breeds)
  • New expiation: $210 ($750 prescribed breeds)
  • Old maximum penalty: $250 ($2500 prescribed breeds)
  • New maximum penalty: $2500 ($5000 prescribed breeds)

Excessive dog barking

  • Old Expiation: $105
  • New expiation: $315
  • Old maximum penalty: $750
  • New maximum penalty: $1250

Failure to register your dog

  • Old expiation: $80 ($210 prescribed breeds)
  • New expiation: $170 ($750 prescribed breeds)
  • Old maximum penalty: $250 ($2500 prescribed breeds)
  • New maximum penalty: $2500 ($5000 prescribed breeds)

Transporting unrestrained dogs on the tray of vehicles (exemptions apply)

  • Old expiation: $105
  • New expiation: $210
  • Old maximum penalty: $750
  • New maximum penalty: $1250


Microchipping and desexing – it’s compulsory

From 1 July 2018, it will be compulsory for:

  • All dogs and cats over a certain age to be microchipped.
  • All new generations of dogs and cats (born after 1 July 2018) to be desexed. (Exemptions apply for working dogs, registered breeders etc.

These changes are designed to increase the likelihood of lost or impounded dogs and cats being reunited with their owners, and reduce the number of unwanted and abandoned litters euthanised in pounds and shelters.

Discount Microchipping

While the new desexing requirement only affects dogs and cats born after 1 July 2018, all dogs and cats must be microchipped by this date.

Microchipping is a safe and permanent way to identify your dog and cat. The procedure is quick, with no ongoing discomfort and can only be carried out by a trained, authorised implanter. Discount microchipping days are offered throughout the state at various times of the year. Visit for more details.

New rules for Breeders and Sellers

There are also new rules for breeders and sellers, including:

  • From 1 July 2017, breeders and sellers must now adhere to new industry standards and guidelines, which stipulate the minimum welfare conditions that must be met to comply with the state’s animal welfare laws. For more information, visit the animal welfare section of or click here.
  • From July 1 2018, breeders and sellers who breed dogs and cats for sale must register with the Dog and Cat Management Board as a breeder.

A new requirement for dog and cat sellers to provide certain information in advertisements and to the buyer.

You can read about the new standards and guidelines for breeders and sellers here.

Greater powers for councils

Councils play a vital role in dog and cat management in your community. They are responsible for registration, collection and return of stray dogs and cats and investigating complaints of barking or dog attacks.

For this reason, councils will now have greater powers under the revised laws, including increases in some expiations and penalties.

There are also changes to who can accredit assistance animals.

DACO – a new way to register your dog or cat

From 1 July 2018, dog and cat registration, along with the way you manage your pet dog or cat’s microchip, health and breeder information, will be simplified with the introduction of a new website.

Dogs and Cats Online (DACO) will be the central point for all your dog and cat management payments and information, replacing the 68 individual council systems and private microchip databases currently in place.

Not only will DACO simplify your dog or cat management needs, but it will streamline the process for councils, vets and animal welfare agencies too, giving these organisations instant access to information from around the state. This will help them reunite you and your lost dog or cat quicker.

Changes to dog registration categories

As of 2017, dog registration in South Australia has been simplified. Your dog now falls under one of these two simple categories.

  • Standard Dog: A dog that is both desexed and microchipped
  • Non-standard Dog: all other dogs, even if they are exempt from rules around desexing or microchipping, such as dogs belonging to registered breeders, working livestock dogs etc.

These changes have been made to streamline registration categories throughout the state. Speak to your council about what rebates might apply to you.

About the Dog and Cat Management Board

Established in 1995 under The Dog and Cat Management Act, the Dog and Cat Management Board is the only statutory board of its kind in Australia and works closely with key partner organisations and the State Government to improve dog and cat management in South Australia.

Using its research and expertise the Board has ensured that South Australia’s regulatory and legislative framework has been reviewed and amended to improve the management of dogs and cats in South Australia.

The Board was a key driver of the reforms soon to be introduced, and will take a proactive role in their application, including the new requirement for breeders to be registered, and in the roll-out of DACO.