Dogs and Cats - New Laws

New laws for cat and dog owners came into effect on 1 July 2018

The laws and rules include:

These new laws will simplify dog registration process, make it easier to reunite lost dogs and cats with their owners, help identify and put a stop to puppy farms and reduce euthanasia rates

New laws - Microchipping

From 1 July 2018, all dogs and cats must be microchipped.

Owners must microchip their dogs and cats by 12 weeks of age or at the point of sale. This includes dogs and cats that are more than 12 weeks of age on 1 July 2018.

Veterinarians may exempt an animal for medical reasons. Owners are encouraged to take advantage of the numerous discount microchipping days throughout the state. Visit for upcoming dates, locations and to make a booking. Alternatively, contact your local vet.

Microchipping is the most effective form of permanent identification for your dog or cat.

From 1 July 2018, all dog and cat microchip details must be recorded on the statewide database, Dogs and Cats Online.

Owners will have 24/7 access to Dogs and Cats Online and be able to easily update their details should they move, change phone number or their dog or cat becomes lost or deceased. There is no cost to keep or update a dog’s or cat’s microchip details on Dogs and Cats Online. Visit their webpage for more information about Dogs and Cats Online.

From 1 July 2018, microchip implanters (possibly your vet) will be required to enter the microchip details in Dogs and Cats Online.

Dogs and Cats Online will be the South Australia microchip registry for dogs and cats. Microchip implanters must enter the microchip details into the statewide database. Owners can complete the microchip registration on Dogs and Cats Online following implantation and continue to maintain the register should any of their details change.

Council offers a registration rebate for ‘standard dogs’, which is a dog that is both microchipped and desexed.

New laws - Desexing

From the 1 July 2018, all dogs and cats born after the 1 July 2018 must be desexed by a registered veterinary surgeon:

  • before it is 6 months of age; or
  • within 28 days after the owner takes possession of the dog or cat; or
  • if the owner of a dog or cat is granted an extension of time, before the day specified in the exemption.

There are exemptions for desexing prescribed in the Act and in the Regulations:

  • Vets may grant an exemption based on it posing an undue risk to the health of the dog or cat or adversely affecting the growth, development or wellbeing of the dog or cat.
  • Dogs & cats born before the 1 July 2018 do not have to be desexed
  • Dogs defined as a “Working Livestock Dog” as per the definition in the Act are exempt from desexing
  • Dogs belonging to Dogs SA members are exempt
  • Cats belonging to a FASA or Cat Fancy of SA members are exempt
  • Greyhounds currently registered to Greyhound Racing SA are exempt (retired greyhounds are not exempt)
  • Board exemption

Click here for further information from the Dog and Cat Board regarding exemptions.


There are new laws regulating the breeding and sale of dogs and cats. These changes are designed to weed out unscrupulous breeders from the industry.

The most important changes to the law are:

  • Breeders and sellers must adhere to the new South Australian Standards and Guidelines for Breeding and Trading Companion Animals, from 1 August 2017.
  • If you are a breeder and seller and you intend to sell a dog or cat after 1 July 2018, you must register as a breeder with the Dog and Cat Management Board.
  • You must not sell a dog or cat unless it has been desexed (by 6 months of age) and microchipped (by 12 weeks of age) in accordance with the Act.
  • If you are a breeder and seller any advertisement you place for the sale of a dog or cat must include your contact details and breeder registration number and provide the buyer with specific information.

Further information for breeders is available here:

Please visit this website for further clarification on any of the above: