Your guide to South Australia’s new dog and cat desexing laws

A little snip can make a big difference to your pet. Find out about the new laws and why they’re coming into play.

Did you know that any puppies and kittens born from July onwards this year will need to be desexed?

It’s all part of a host of legislative changes being rolled out in South Australia to help reduce the number of cats and dogs ending up in shelters.

So what will this mean for you and your new pet? First off, here are the changes:

New desexing laws

Desexing will be compulsory in SA for all dogs and cats born after 1 July this year. Cats and dogs will have to be desexed by the age of six months, or within 28 days of when you take possession of a new animal.

This new requirement is one of the legislative changes aimed at reducing the number of dogs and cats ending up in shelters every year.

It does not apply to dogs and cats born before 1 July 2018, and exemptions are available for working dogs and animals belonging to breeders registered with the Dog and Cat Management Board.

What will it mean for your pup?

Desexing cats means fewer unwanted kittens, but what benefits are there from desexing dogs?

Research has shown desexing dogs has a number of benefits – for dogs, their owners and the wider community.

Aside from reducing the number of unwanted litters, which often end up in pounds or shelters, desexing dogs tends to make for better behaved pets, whether they are male or female.

Desexing makes dogs less aggressive and less likely to wander, reducing the risk of them attacking people, other pets and native wildlife.

It also results in a longer, healthier life for your dog, by reducing the chance of them getting some cancers.

Any registered vet can desex a dog or cat, but if you are thinking of getting a new pet, why not adopt from a shelter?

Shelters like the Animal Welfare League and RSPCA already desex and microchip all their dogs and cats before they are adopted, making it even easier for you to bring a new furry friend home.

What’s next for pets?

The new desexing laws are one of many changes being made in SA to ensure the welfare of our dogs, cats and other companion animals.

The changes are the most significant to our companion animal management laws in more than 20 years.

Here’s what else is part of the package:


If you’re interested in learning more, check out our recent blogs about breeding standards in SA, the benefits for landlords of having pet-friendly rental properties, and how you can secure one as a tenant.

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