Is microchipping compulsory?
New requirements contained in the Dog and Cat Management Act 1995 (SA) and its regulations mean that as of 1 July 2018, microchipping of dogs and cats is in most instances compulsory.
Microchipping and can enable lost dogs and cats to be quickly reunited with their owners.
A dog or cat must be microchipped before they are sold [see Dog and Cat Management Regulations 2017 (SA) reg 10(1)(a)]. In any event, a dog or cat must otherwise be mircochipped:
- before they reach 12 weeks' of age; OR
- within 28 days of an owner taking possession of the animal,
whichever occurs later.
However, dogs and cats that are sold from one breeder to another are exempt from this requirement [see reg 18(4)(a)], as are dogs and cats that are sold and not kept in South Australia [see reg 18(4)(c)].
A dog or cat that is not required to be microchipped must still wear a collar containing both the registration disc last issued to dog or cat, and the contact details of the owner [see Dog and Cat Management Act 1995 (SA) s 42C].
What is the penalty for failing to microchip my dog or cat?
As of 1 July 2018, the maximum penalties for failing to microchip a dog or cat are:
Prescribed breed, attack trained dogs, guard dogs or patrol dogs: fine of up to $5 000
In any other case: fine of up to $2 500
Prescribed breed, attack trained dogs, guard dogs or patrol dogs: $750
In any other case: $170.
See Dog and Cat Management Act 1995 (SA) s 42A(2).
What if my dog or cat remains without a microchip after I pay a fine for failing to comply?
The council can issue a further expiation notice or summons for every three months that the dog or cat remains without a microchip. The three month period commences from the day on which the person was found guilty of the original offence, or the day on which they paid the original fine, whichever applies.
See Dog and Cat Management Act 1995 (SA) s 42B.
What if microchipping would pose an undue risk to the health of a dog or cat or adversely affect their growth, development and wellbeing?
A registered veterinary surgeon may grant an exemption from the requirements to microchip a particular dog or cat for these reasons [reg 13(2)]. An exemption due to the health of the dog or cat may be for a limited or an indefinite period, but an exemption due to the growth, development and wellbeing may only be for a maximum of 18 months [reg 13(4)(b)]. The exemption must be by notice in writing as required by the Dog and Cat Management Board [reg13(5)]. The Board or the registered veterinary surgeon may vary or revoke an exemption if it is no longer necessary [reg 13(7)].
What if a dog or cat was microchipped interstate?
If a dog or cat has already been microchipped in another State or Territory in accordance with the law of that State or Territory, then as long as it conforms to the Australian Standards and records a unique identification number, it will be taken to have been microchipped in accordance with the requirements in South Australia [regs 10(8) and 18(3)].
Must owners report to a register of dogs and cats?
Yes. From 1 July 2017, the Dog and Cat Management Board began keeping a register of dogs and cats that have been microchipped and desexed [Dog and Cat Management Act 1995 (SA) s 21B]. The register is called Dogs and Cats Online.
Dogs and Cats Online replaced the previous 68 individual council dog and cat registers and as of 1 July 2018, became the centre point for registration payments, mirochipping and breeder information in South Australia.
Under the regulations and from 15 August 2018, a person who microchips a dog or cat is required to, within 5 days of the microchipping procedure, register that information on Dogs and Cats Online, or provide that information to the Registrar of Dogs for the council where the vet practices.
There is also an obligation for an owner of a dog or cat to, in a manner and form prescribed by the Dog and Cat Management Board, within 14 days notify the Board of an changes to their name, residential address or telephone number [Dog and Cat Management Regulations 2017 (SA) reg 10(6)].
Maximum Penalty: fine of up to $2 500
Expiation fee: $170
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.