What if a dog wanders off?
If a dog is found to be “wandering at large”, then an authorised person (of the Dog and Cat Management Board or a local council) can seize the dog (see Seizure and destruction) and issue the owner or person responsible for the dog with an expiation notice or a summons to answer a charge and pay a fine [see s 43 Dog and Cat Management Act 1995 (SA)].
For a dangerous of prescribed dog
- For a first offence: a fine of up to $5 000
- For a subsequent offence: a fine of up to $10 000
Dangerous or prescribed dog: $750
Any other dog: $210.
A dog is considered to be “wandering at large” if it is in a public place (not a park) or on private property without the occupier’s consent, without anyone exercising effective control of the dog by means of physical restraint [s 7].
A dog is considered to be “wandering at large” in a public park if no one is exercising effective control of the dog either by means of physical restraint or by command; the dog being close to and within sight at all times [s 7].
Where a person is found guilty of a subsequent offence the court may order that the dog be disposed of within a specified period or controlled in a certain way [s 43(3)].
What is “effective control”?
A dog is considered to be under “effective control” by means of physical restraint if on a leash chain or cord no more than two metres in length; or it is secured in a cage, vehicle or other object or structure [see s 8].
Can I search an online register for a lost dog or cat?
Yes. Dogs and Cats online has a search function available to search their register for a lost animal, by either the animal's registration number or microchip number. The register can be searched via the Dogs and Cats Online website.
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.