Dog + Cat Reforms

What it means for you...

New laws for cat and dog owners and breeders will soon be introduced in South Australia. These changes are designed to improve dog and cat management and welfare and are the result of years of planning and public consultation.

Microchipping and desexing - it’s compulsory

From 1 July 2018, it will be compulsory for:

  • All dogs and cats over a certain age to be microchipped.
  • All new generations of dogs and cats (born after 1 July 2018) to be desexed exemptions apply for working dogs, registered breeders etc. These changes are designed to increase the likelihood of lost or impounded dogs and cats being reunited with their owners, and reduce the number of unwanted and abandoned litters euthanised in pounds and shelters.


Discount Microchipping

While the new desexing requirement only affects dogs and cats born after 1 July 2018, all dogs and cats must be microchipped by this date. Microchipping is a safe and permanent way to identify your dog and cat. The procedure is quick, with no ongoing discomfort and can only be carried out by a trained, authorised implanter.

The AWL is excited to announce that the Connect and Protect project has officially launched. With the aim of helping people, pets and the community by delivering a low-cost mobile microchipping service that will see the AWL travel to regions across the state to reaching people with limited access to low cost veterinary services. 


New rules for Breeders and Sellers

There are also new rules for breeders a nd sellers, including:

  • From July 1 2018, breeders and sellers who breed dogs and cats for sale must register with the Dog and Cat Management Board as a breeder.
  •  Breeders and sellers must now adhere to new industry standards and guidelines, which stipulate the minimum welfare conditions that must be met to comply with the state’s animal welfare laws. For more information, visit the animal welfare section of
  • A new requirement for dog and cat sellers to provide certain information in advertisements and to the buyer. Greater powers for councils Councils play a vital role in dog and cat management in your community. They are responsible for registration, collection and return of stray dogs and cats and investigating complaints of barking or dog attacks. For this reason, councils will now have greater powers under the revised laws, including increases in some expiations and penalties. There are also changes to who can accredit assistance animals.

Changes to dog registration categories

As of 2017, dog registration in South Australia has been simplified. Your dog now falls under one of these two simple categories. These changes have been made to streamline registration categories throughout the state.

Standard Dog: A dog that is both desexed and microchipped

Non-standard Dog: all other dogs, even if they are exempt from rules around desexing or microchipping, such as dogs belonging to registered breeders, working livestock dogs etc.

Speak to your council about what rebates might apply to you.

DACO – a new way to register your dog or cat

From 1 July 2018, dog and cat registration, along with the way you manage your pet dog or cat’s microchip, health and breeder information, will be simplified with the introduction of a new website. Dogs and Cats Online (DACO) will be the central point for all your dog and cat management payments and information, replacing the 68 individual council systems and private microchip databases currently in place. Not only will DACO simplify your dog or cat management needs, but it will streamline the process for councils, vets and animal welfare agencies too, giving these organisations instant access to information from around the state. This will help them reunite you and your lost dog or cat quicker.