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Thursday, June 20, 2024

Have your say on tough new dog laws

Penalties for vicious dog attacks will substantially increase and puppy farms will be banned under proposed reforms to South Australia’s Dog and Cat Management Act.

Under the draft changes, if a dog attacks a person or another animal causing serious injury or death, the owner will face a maximum fine of $25,000 instead of the current $2,500 penalty. The fine would be up to $50,000 if the attacking dog was already the subject of a dangerous dog order, up from $10,000.

In extreme cases, when a dog owner deliberately encourages their pet to attack or harass a person or animal, the owner could be fined up to $100,000 or be jailed for four years.

Councils would also have increased powers to manage dogs that persistently wander in their districts. This includes the ability to issue control orders on dogs that continually wander at large, with penalties of up to $2,500 each time a dog with a control order is caught wandering.

All other fines and expiations for dog attacks will be increased under the changes, which have been released for public consultation today.

“The South Australian Government is making sure that penalties for violent dog attacks are a strong deterrent to ensure owners do everything they can to control their dogs,” said Deputy Premier, Susan Close.

“The Government recognises that community expectations and standards are changing and we need to ensure that not only the law, but enforcement of the law, keeps up.”

Deputy Premier, Susan Close.

The draft changes include a tough breeder licensing scheme, which was a key SA Government election commitment. This would impose a limit of 50 female animals per breeding program, outlawing large-scale, inhumane puppy farms that increase the risk of animal cruelty.

The move will bring South Australia in line with Victoria as the strictest jurisdiction for breeding programs in the nation.

“We are delivering on our commitment to ban puppy farms and stop the breeding of animals in cramped and horrible conditions,” said the Deputy Premier.

“People love and cherish their pets, and everyone deserves to know that a puppy has come from a responsible breeder who cares for their animals.”

The reforms also include a robust licensing and assessment system for breeders, criminal background checks on applicants, fines of up to $10,000 for breeding animals without a licence and the ability to suspend and cancel breeder licences.

Under the changes, female dogs will be limited to having a maximum of five litters and mandatory reporting of each litter will be introduced.

Dog control orders placed on pet owners who move to South Australia from interstate – such as a dangerous dog order or a prohibition order – will also be better recognised and enforced under South Australian law.

A mandatory requirement for retired racing greyhounds to be muzzled in public will be removed under the changes. This will bring greyhound adoption rules in line with those for other dogs.

Public consultation closes on Sunday 9 June 2024. Have your say here: www.yoursay.sa.gov.au/breeder-reforms.

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