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New laws to crack down on dog attacks and ban large-scale puppy farms

Punishments for vicious dog attacks will be substantially increased and puppy farms will be banned under proposed reforms to the state’s Dog and Cat Management Act.

New laws to crack down on dog attacks and ban large-scale puppy farms

If a dog attacks a person or another animal causing serious injury or death, their owner would face a maximum fine of $25,000 instead of the current $2500 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 4 years.

All other fines and expiations for dog attacks will be increased under the changes, which were released for public consultation on May 14.

The draft changes include a tough breeder licensing scheme, which was a key state 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.

This change would bring South Australia in line with Victoria as the strictest jurisdiction for breeding programs in the nation.

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 5 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.

Department for Environment and Water Dog and Cat Management Director Kym Pryde said the proposed changes are important measures to ensure breeders and owners were doing the right thing.

"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," Ms Pryde said.

"We recognise that community expectations and standards are changing and we need to ensure that not only the law, but enforcement of the law, keeps up.

"The public consultation period now provides a great opportunity for South Australians to share with us their thoughts on dog and cat management across the state."

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 $2500 each time a dog with a control order is caught wandering.

Public consultation closes on June 11, 2024.

Have your say here: www.yoursay.sa.gov.au/breeder-reforms