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  • Find out more about SA's new cat laws

New dog and cat laws 2017/18

There are new laws for cats in South Australia.

These laws were based on extensive public consultation, are being phased in over the next twelve months.

Read the amended Dog and Cat Management Act 1995 here

Reed the amended Dog and Cat Management Regulations 2017  here

A brief timeline of the changes can be seen below:

  • July 2017 – increased fines and expiations for dog or cat owners who break the law. Councils also have increased powers to investigate and enforce the law.
  • August 2017 – new standards and guidelines for anyone who breeds companion animals (cats, dogs) for sale or trade.
  • 1 July 2018 – new mandatory requirements to microchip and desex your cats, or register as a breeder.  

Mandatory microchipping

From 1 July 2018, all cats in South Australia must be microchipped. Kittens must be microchipped by 12 weeks of age, or within 28 days of taking possession of the cat. This is being introduced to reunite lost pets with their owners, and to cut down on the number of unidentified cats that end up in pounds or shelters. You can access discounted microchipping for $10 via chipblitz.com, which conducts microchipping days at councils around South Australia.

Mandatory desexing

Under changes to the law, all dogs and cats born after 1 July 2018 must be desexed. Kittens must be desexed by six months of age. There are exemptions for cats belonging to registered breeders, or for medical grounds, but this new law is designed to cut the number of unwanted litters, many of which will end up in pounds or shelters, where sadly, many will be euthanised. If you cat was born before 1 July 2018, it is not compulsory to have it desexed.

Breeder registration

From 1 July 2018, if your cat or dog has a litter will need to register with the Dog and Cat Management Board as a breeder. You will then be entered into a database and issued with a breeder registration number. This new rule is designed to bring accountability to the breeding trade, and drive unscrupulous puppy and kitten farmers out of business. Any advertisements you place for the sale or trade of kittens must also feature your registration number and current contact details. These rules also apply to dogs.

New rules for breeders and sellers

From 1 August 2017, there are new welfare standards that must be met by breeders and sellers. You can read about these new standards and guidelines, and how they apply to you at this link.

From, 1 July 2018, if you sell a dog or cat, it must be microchipped and desexed at the time of sale. If the animal is younger than six months at the time of sale, that responsibility to desex falls on buyer (who must be notified of this obligation by the seller).

History of the new laws

On Sunday 19th April 2015 the Hon. Ian Hunter, Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation announced that a draft bill containing proposed legislative amendments to the Dog and Cat Management Act 1995 had been developed.

The amendments contain joint recommendations of the Dog and Cat Management Board, Local Government Association, Select Committee for Dogs and Cats as Companion Animals and the Government’s election commitments outlined in Let’s Keep Building South Australia.

The aims of the proposed changes were to improve dog and cat management and welfare in South Australia and improve the consistency of legislation across a number of Local Government Acts.

A draft Bill the Dog and Cat Management (Miscellaneous) Amendment Bill 2015 contained a number of amendments including the following:

  • Mandatory microchipping of dogs and cats.
  • A requirement for anyone who breeds dogs and cats for sale to be registered.
  • Extended powers for council Authorised Persons to manage cats
  • Increased penalties for people who allow their dog to wander or attack.

In response to the comments from the public consultation on the Bill, the Government established a Citizens’ Jury to explore ways to reduce the 10,000 unwanted dogs and cats being euthanized each year in South Australia and to investigate if mandatory desexing would provide a solution.

In October 2015 Minister Hunter provided the Governments’ response to the Jury’s recommendations and announced that mandatory desexing would be incorporated into the draft Bill.

On the 18 November 2015 the Dog and Cat Management (Miscellaneous) Amendment Bill 2015 was introduced by Minister Hunter into Parliament.  

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