Dog Laws & Regulations

Recent Changes

Legislation in South Australia was passed in 2016 requiring as of the 1st of July 2018:

  • All dogs and cats to be microchipped
  • All new generations of dogs and cats to be de-sexed unless an exemption is obtained
  • All breeders and sellers of dogs and cats must be registered with the South Australian Dog and Cat Management Board.

Dog Registration

Every dog over 3 months of age must be registered with your local council.

An application for registration of a dog must be made to the Registrar (at your local council) for the area in which the dog is usually kept, and must nominate a person over 18 years of age who consents to the dog being registered in his or her name.

Registration prices are reduced for pensioners and if your animal is desexed, microchipped and trained. Check with your local council.

Dog Identification

Dogs are required to have a collar around the neck with the registration disc securely attached. The disc should be the current disc for that year.

It is strongly recommended that a disc or tag with the name and phone number of the owner is also attached to the dog's collar.

The AWL rehomes animals with a microchip implanted under the skin of the animal. This provides non-removable identification.  Vet clinics also implant microchips on request.  Please note that this does not remove the need to register your dog and ensure it has the current disk on the collar.

Transfer of dog ownership

If the ownership of a dog is transferred, the new owner must obtain the current certificate of registration, and the current disc from the previous owner. It is also advised to alert your local council of these changes in ownership.  You also need to change ownership details with the Central Animal Records if the dog is Microchipped.

Barking Dogs

If a dog creates noise, through barking or otherwise, which persistently continues until it unreasonably interferes with the peace, comfort or convenience of other people, then the local council should be contacted. 

Dog attack defence of a person or property

The keeper (owner or carer) of a dog is liable for any injury, damage or loss caused by the dog.

A person may lawfully injure or destroy a dog if that action is reasonable and necessary for the protection of life.

Stray Dogs

Dogs found wandering at large, (wandering the neighbourhood not under the control of the owner or carer), can be taken to the local pound by council officers. Fines will be incurred for allowing your dog to wander at large.

The AWL cannot accept stray dogs, wandering at large, from the public. If you find a stray dog you must contact your local council for them to pick it up and take it to the AWL or local council pound.

It is important to make sure your dog is secure at all times. If it gets out and is not wearing identification, it may end up at the pound. If you do not find it in time, your dog could end up in another home or possibly euthanised if the animal is found to have health and/or behavioural problems or aggressive towards humans or other animals.

A large amount of dogs escape during thunderstorms or fireworks, it is important to ensure they are extra secure at these times. 

Council By-Laws

Most dog laws are drawn from the 'Dog and Cat Management Act' and are produced by your local council as by-laws. For more information visit the Dog and Cat Management Board

Contact your local council to find out about special requirements for your area. Examples of this could be beaches or parks where dogs are allowed (on or off leash).

Animal Management Officers

Please be aware that it is an offence to hinder dog management officers in the performance of their duties. It is also an offence to:

  1. use abusive, threatening or insulting language to a dog management officer, or a person assisting a dog management officer;
  2. refuse or fail to comply with a requirement of a dog management officer;
  3. falsely pretend to be a dog management officer

Dog Exercise Areas & Controls

Many councils display dog advisory signs in public areas.  Please keep a look out for these and comply with the requirements for everyone's comfort and safety.  For example, in most areas, you are not allowed to take dogs into school grounds or near playgrounds.

Guide dogs

No fee is payable for the registration of a guide dog.

For further information refer to your local council or the Dog and Cat Management Board.