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The Act and Regulations

Dogs are great friends. But, dog ownership also comes with responsibility. You have to make sure your dog is fed, cared for and exercised. And you also have responsibilities to your community, too, making sure your dog is properly controlled and well-behaved.

As a dog owner in South Australia you are required to:

  • Register your dog with your local council
  • Clean up after your dog. Failure to do so can attract a fine. Most councils provide plastic bags and bins
  • Make sure your dog is not wandering off your property on to the streets and public places on its own
  • Make sure your dog does not chase, harrass or attack a person or another animal
  • Make sure your dog is not a nusiance. Excessive barking is one of the most common compaints received by councils
  • Make sure your dog is restrained if you are transporting it in the open tray of a ute.

The laws relating to dogs are contained in the Dog and Cat Management Act 1995.

The Dog and Cat Management Board has the principle function of overseeing the administration and enforcement of the Act, and the Board works with councils and the community towards achieving a consistently high standard of dog and cat management in South Australia.

Who enforces the laws relating to dogs?

Local council-appointed Authorised Persons (formerly Animal Management Officers) handle all matters relating to dogs, and have the power to:

  • Issue expiation notices (i.e. fines for dog poo not being picked up)
  • Require a person to produce a dog, or any certificate or records issued under the Dog and Cat Management Act 1995, for inspection
  • Require a person they suspect has committed, or appears to be about to commit an offence, to give their full name and address and produce identification
  • Seize and detain dogs under certain circumstances.
  • Collect evidence, including photographs or video, for the purposes of an investigation.

Authorised Persons may also enter and inspect any place or vehicle, on suspicion of an offence, and a warrant may be obtained if the owner denies permission.

It is an offence to hinder, obstruct, abuse or refuse to comply with a reasonable request of an Authorised Person. Authorised Persons may also cross council boundaries to carry out various duties under certain circumstances.

If a complaint is proven to be valid, the council may levy an expiation fee. If the offence is serious, the person responsible for the dog might be summoned to appear in court.

If you see a dog doing any of the following you should contact your local council immediately:

  • Wandering on the streets with no owner in sight
  • Attacking, harassing or chasing a person or animal
  • Attacking a postman, meter reader or other person who lawfully enters a property
  • Being in a school, kindergarten or child care centre without permission*
  • Being in a shop without the owner’s permission
  • Chasing a motor vehicle or bicycle
  • Defecating in a public place, unless the person in control immediately removes and disposes of the faeces.


download Dog & Cat Management Act 1995
download Dog & Cat Management Regulations 2017