When can a cat be seized and destroyed?
The Dog and Cat Management Act 1995 (SA) [ss 63 and 64A] allows a cat to be seized, detained and destroyed by an authorised person where the cat is found [s 63]:
- in a reserve or sanctuary (within the meaning of the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972) or a wilderness protection area or zone (within the meaning of the Wilderness Protection Act 1992)
- in a designated area by the owner or occupier or a person authorised by the owner or occupier
- in any other place, and the cat does not have the owner's name, address and phone number on a collar or microchip.
A person who is not authorised, but who finds a cat in any of the above situations, may seize the cat and then within twelve hours deliver it to a veterinary surgeon or facility for the care of cats [s 64], who may then destroy or otherwise dispose of the cat (e.g. by sale) [s 64A].
However, any person who finds a cat in a remote place that is more than one kilometre from any genuine residence may destroy the cat [s 63(1)(c)]. A person who destroys a cat must take reasonable steps to inform the owner and must notify the local council [s 64D].
A seized cat may be microchipped and desexed, with the cost recoverable from the owner as a debt [s 64B]. A person is not entitled to the return of a cat unless they prove their ownership or responsibility for the cat and pay all outstanding fees and charges owing in relation to the cat’s seizure and detention and otherwise, and register the cat (if required) [s 64C]. Even if a cat is returned, the fees and charges owing in relation to the cat’s seizure and detention can still be recovered against the owner as a debt [s 64E].
Ownership of a cat destroyed under the Dog and Cat Management Act 1995 (SA) is taken to have vested in the operator of the facility at which the cat was detained immediately beforehand, and no compensation is payable to the previous owner for the cat’s destruction [s 64F]. In fact, the operator of the facility at which the cat was detained may recover some costs from the owner for the cat’s seizure, detention and destruction [s 64E].
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