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New Dog and Cat Laws in SA

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by Kat May (subscribe)
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Published August 23rd 2018
What you need to know
Last year, I had a chat to a dog owner I saw walking by. I remarked what a lovely dog it was and she said unfortunately he is very unwell. She purchased the dog for her son on the recommendation of her doctor, as her son had anxiety and health problems and it was hoped a dog would bring give him some confidence. It worked and the child was indeed much improved. However the dog soon became sick and she had just found out it needed heart surgery at a cost of thousands, which she could not afford. She found the dog online, then purchased the dog from a man who only wanted to meet at a local park. After so much joy, her only option was to have the dog put down which would be heartbreaking for the child.

DACO, new dog and cat laws South Australia
Woof! Yes I am new and I have my chip. Image by Kat May.

This sad story is typical of the many problems that have been occurring with backyard breeders. But with new laws for South Australia, hopefully, these problems will be a thing of the past. This manner of selling a dog is now illegal under the new dog and cat law reforms that came into effect on July 1st 2018. Other new laws concern microchipping, desexing and registration.

It is now compulsory for all dogs and cats over the age of 12 weeks to be microchipped. Yes, even cats. Owners details will then be recorded on the DACO database which can be accessed by councils and vets when needed. The chip is tiny, like the size of a grain of rice, and does not hurt the animal.

Many councils are holding microchip days. Vets can also do the chip if you are there for other reasons as a visit would incur a fee. You can also get very cheap microchipping done at special chip days at suburban and regional locations. See Chipblitz here for more details. You must print out the form and have everything ready before your appointment as they only last 5 minutes.

From July 2018 all newborn dogs and cats must be desexed before the age of six months. If you have just purchased a pet it must be carried out 28 days after a change of ownership. There are some exemptions for working dogs and breeding animals.

dog and cat laws south australia
These bejewelled darlings were snapped in Rundle Mall. Image by Kat May.

No longer can anyone post an ad online or stick up a sign at the local shops advertising a dog or cat for sale. All sellers must now be registered with DACO as a breeder. Backyard sellers will incur hefty fines. There are also new rules for breeders as to what information is stated in advertisements. If you come across someone trying to sell a pet like the story above, please report it to DACO.

All dogs must be registered and some councils are introducing mandatory cat registration. Existing dog owners will still receive a renewal notice in the mail with their dog's new registration disc displaying a permanent registration number (replacing the annual disc) and instructions on how to complete their annual dog registration on DACO- Dog and Cats Online. This must be done on the website. If you did not receive a renewal notice for your dog, please contact your council.

To register your dog online, you will need to create a user profile with an email and password. Councils have had training on the new laws and have someone there to help you with this. The local library can help you with the website if you need it. For more detailed information, visit the DACO website here. There are some useful video links to explain what is needed for registration of pets and also for breeders of dogs.

For information on lost pets, you can go onto the facebook site of LostPetsOfSouthAustralia. Not so useful for the many people who are not on Facebook. You can also report lost pets on the DACO website. Of course, if a pet is microchipped finding your pet should be simple, if you keep your details updated. It pays to keep photos of you with your pet and receipts of purchase.

dog and cat laws south australia
Don't risk a fine. ensure your dog is microchipped and safe. Image by Kat May.
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When: New laws are now inforced in SA
Your Comment
Adequate laws to protect animals have been a long time coming.
by Jenny Esots (score: 3|1152) 150 days ago
Finally a move in the right direction to protect our native animals and birds.
by Bobg (score: 0|2) 148 days ago
There may not be big differences between backyard sellers and so-called registered breeders. I know it's actually not hard to get a certificate as a registered breeder, just some paperwork. How much supervision and how often a registered breeder is being checked if s/he is strictly following the guidelines and rules supposed to be. 'Registered' breeders, just another description to let them sell the dogs at an even higher price.
A few big dogs for breeding living in a house with small backyard, confined most of the time, they are only out of the house when they need to see a vet, a female dog gave birth before she's one, ... Oh well, I guess having laws will be better than nothing. How about do more work in advocating ADOPTION.
by hilda (score: 0|2) 148 days ago
Foodi Photoh Classie
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