New Dog and Cat Laws are almost here!

The most significant changes to South Australia’s dog and cat management laws in more than 20 years will soon start to come into effect.

The changes to the Dog and Cat Management Act 1995 will begin to take effect from July 1 this year.

The major changes include mandatory microchipping for all dogs and cats by three months of age, a new dog and cat breeder registration system and increased penalties for people who allow their dogs to wander or attack.

Understanding what SA’s new Dog and Cat Laws mean for you

If you are among the thousands of South Australians who have furry, four-legged family members, then these new laws affect you.

If you breed puppies and/or kittens for sale, they affect you too.


On the 18 November 2015 the Hon. Ian Hunter, Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation introduced the Dog and Cat Management (Miscellaneous) Amendment Bill 2015 into Parliament.  

Parliament passed the Bill on 6 July 2016.

The Bill aims to improve the welfare of dogs and cats through the introduction of new laws for pet owners and breeders. The passing of this Bill means that the microchipping and desexing of dogs and cats becomes a legal requirement, with exceptions for registered breeders and the owners of working dogs.

RSPCA South Australia welcomes these new laws. We are hopeful that they will;

  • Increase the number of lost dogs and cats returned to their owners
  • Promote responsible pet ownership
  • Reduce the number of unwanted animals ending up in shelters
  • Ensure higher standards of care for all dogs and cats at breeding facilities and pet shops

Will these new laws stop puppy farms from operating in South Australia?

The new dog and cat laws, together with a new code of practice for dog and cat breeders and traders that will come into effect from 1st August 2017 (South Australian Standards and Guidelines for Breeding and Trading Companion Animals), will help to provide some assurance that puppies and kittens are bred and made available for sale under acceptable conditions.

Under the new laws, anyone who breeds dogs and cats for sale must register with the Dog and Cat Management Board and comply with the new Code.

However, while these changes to legislation will help in the fight against irresponsible breeders and puppy farms, the onus remains on buyers to be vigilant when checking the integrity of a breeder. RSPCA’s Smart Puppy Buyer’s Guide will help you to make sure you’re buying your puppy from a reputable breeder.

And if you have any information about illegal puppy farms or the mistreatment of breeding animals, please call RSPCA South Australia’s 24-hour cruelty hotline on 1300 4 777 22. Our Inspectors can’t investigate unless they know where to find these facilities.

The Dog and Cat Management Act is enforced by your local council. Please contact them if you have any concerns. 

Useful links:

New industry standards and guidelines for breeders and sellers

Find out more about DACO (Dogs and Cats Online)