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Duties of dog owners

What are my duties as a dog owner?

Dog owners have the following duties:

  • register the dog [s 33];
  • microchip the dog [s 42A];
  • desex the dog [42E];
  • to keep the dog under effective control, generally this means on a leash no longer than 2 metres [s 8, 43];
  • to keep dog from entering private property without consent [ss 7, 43];
  • to prevent the dog from wandering at large [s 43];
  • to keep the dog from attacking, harassing or chasing any person or animal or bird owned by a person [s 44];
  • to immediately collect and dispose of dog’s faeces from a public place [s 45A(6)] (expiation fee $210);
  • to keep the dog from persistent or extensive barking [s 45A(5)] (expiation fee $315);
  • to keep the dog from rushing at or chasing vehicles [s 45A(4)];
  • to keep the dog physically restrained (in an enclosure or tethered so it cannot fall or escape) when being transported in the open tray of a utility or similar vehicle [s 45(1)] (expiation fee $210);
  • to keep the dog (other than an assistance dog) from entering education facilities or shops without permission [ss 45A(2) and (3)];
  • to ensure the dog wears a collar around its neck with the registration disc last issued to the dog, at all times when it is not confined to the owner's premises [see Dog and Cat Regulations 2017 (SA) reg 9(1)].

Both the Dog and Cat Management Board and local councils can issue expiation notices or summonses if dog owners do not fulfil these duties. It is a defence to any charge under the Act if the offence was not committed intentionally and did not result from any failure on the part of the person to take reasonable care to avoid committing the offence [Dog and Cat Management Act 1995 (SA) s 86].

When a court convicts a person of an offence against the Dog and Cat Management Act 1995 (SA), it can also make a variety of orders to stop any danger or nuisance. Depending on the circumstances, the court may order that a dog be destroyed or controlled in a certain way, that the owner may not acquire another dog for a certain period, or that the victim is paid compensation for injury or damage [s 47].

What are my duties as a dog sitter?

Apart from registration, (unless you are dog-sitting and the registration expires), you have the same duties as the owner of the dog. This is because the same laws apply to both the owner and the person responsible for the dog.

Before you agree to dog-sit, you should ask whether the dog’s registration is up to date.

Can I take my dog everywhere with me?

Unless the dog is an accredited assistance dog, any person responsible for the control of a dog is guilty of an offence if the dog is in a shop (not being a pet shop, grooming parlour or vet surgeon) without the permission of the shop keeper.

Expiation fee: $315.

See Dog and Cat Management Act 1955 (SA) s 45A(3).

Duties of dog owners  :  Last Revised: Thu Jun 28th 2018
The content of the Law Handbook is made available as a public service for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice. See Disclaimer for details. For free and confidential legal advice in South Australia call 1300 366 424.