Changes to the Dog and Cat Management Act

If you are a dog or cat owner/ breeder these changes might impact you!

Key Information

  • micro-chipping is mandatory for all dogs and cats
  • de-sexing is mandatory for all dogs and cats born after 1 July 2018
  • anyone who breeds or sells a dog or cat must register as a breeder
  • registration and renewals will be online through the Dog and Cat Management Board, no longer through local councils.

Compulsory Microchipping

  • from 1 July 2018 it will be mandatory for all dogs and cats to be microchipped
  • this applies to new and existing dogs and cats
  • Alexandrina Council has been supporting microchipping days within the Council region to enable easy access for animal owners to comply – to see what sessions are coming up and book in ahead, visit

Compulsory De-sexing

  • all dogs and cats born after 1 July 2018 will be required to be de-sexed unless exempt under the Act or an exemption certificate is provided. 

Changes in Registration Process

  • registration of all dogs is compulsory and will be managed through a state online system – Dogs And Cats Online (DACO)
  • you will receive you registration renewal in the post and will be required to log onto DACO to register your dog – you do not need to come into Council
  • the tag you receive with your 2018/19 renewal notice is a lifetime tag – if you lose it you can purchase a new tag through DACO
  • dog registration fees are still set by Council
  • all payments will be through DACO – via credit card or BPAY Please note – the past BPAY references will NOT WORK.  You will need to use the BPAY detailed on the 2018/19 renewal notice.

Please visit for more details.

Where can you register your dog from 1 July 2018?

  • while all registrations will be online through DACO if you do not have access to a computer, Council has free online access at the Libraries
  • if you require help in the new registration process Council will have information and staff available to support you.

 Please visit for more details.

Further information:

Registration categories have been changed to:

  • Standard dog – a dog that is both desexed and microchipped  
  • Non-standard dog – all other dogs, even if they are exempt from rules around desexing or microchipping (i.e. dogs belonging to registered breeders, working livestock dogs etc).

General information on the current Dog Registration (effective April 2018 until change of laws on 1 July 2018)

Dog registrations are required annually on the 1st of July and expire on 30 June the following year. It is the responsibility of every dog owner to re- register your dog by 31August each year

  • Every dog 3 months of age or over is required to be registered by law
  • The penalty for keeping an unregistered dog is an $170.00 expiation fee
  • A limit of two dogs apply per residential household or Council permission is required
  • Dog owners are reminded that penalties apply for offences under Dog & Cat Management Act 1995
  • You must be 16 years of age to register a dog in your name
  • You will need to provide proof of desexing, microchipping, Pensioner or Department of Veterans' Affairs card to receive the applicable fee concessions


 Dog on and off leash poster

Where can I walk my dog?
To assist residents and visitors in our region to understand and adhere to these regulations, we have developed a brochure with a summary of dog on and off leash areas based on location and time of year. These changes may impact you and your dog, so it’s important to be informed. View the brochure here.

Dog On and Off Leash Maps

Coastal Area (Goolwa to Port Elliot)

Dog on and off leash map - Council area

Blue highlighted area: dogs on leash at all times between 1 December - 28 February. Dogs on leash 10am - 6pm from 1 March - 30 April. Under effective control 1 May - 30 November.

Pink highlighted area: under effective control.

Goolwa Beach On Leash Area (Beach Road to Bradford Road)

Dog on and off leash map - Goolwa Beach area

Blue highlighted area: dogs on leash at all times between 1 December - 28 February. Dogs on leash 10am - 6pm from 1 March - 30 April. Under effective control 1 May - 30 November.

Goolwa to Middleton Beach Off Leash Area (Treleaven Place - Tongan Way)

Dog on and off leash - Goolwa Beach Off Leash Area

Blue highlighted area: dogs on leash at all times between 1 December - 28 February. Dogs on leash 10am - 6pm from 1 March - 30 April. Under effective control 1 May - 30 November.

Pink highlighted area: under effective control.

Middleton On Leash Area (Mill Terrace - Chapman Road)

Dog on and off leash - Middleton On Leash area

Blue highlighted area: dogs on leash at all times between 1 December - 28 February. Dogs on leash 10am - 6pm from 1 March - 30 April. Under effective control 1 May - 30 November.

Port Elliot (Horseshoe Bay) On Leash Area

Dog on and off leash - Port Elliot On Leash Area

Blue highlighted area: dogs on leash at all times between 1 December - 28 February. Dogs on leash 10am - 6pm from 1 March - 30 April. Under effective control 1 May - 30 November.

All Other Coastal Foreshore Areas: Dogs on leash 10am - 6pm from 1 December - 30 April. Under effective control 1 May - 30 November.

*Please ensure dogs are on leash at all times within 50m of an active Hooded Plover Nest. Nest areas are clearly marked.
What is effective control of your dog?

Effective control means that the person responsible for the dog can voice control their dog in a manner that ensures the dog will obey. The dog needs to remain in close proximity and in sight of the owner at all times. When it is called (one call only), the dog should immediately respond and return to its owner. The owner should be able to display control over the dog with verbal commands only (not physically holding the dog).

Council Parks and Reserves

Other than the areas listed below, dogs are required to be on leash between 10am and 6pm daily in all Council reserves from 1 December – 30 April.  Dogs are required to be under effective control at all other times. 

On leash at all times parks and reserves:

  • Strathalbyn Soldiers Memorial Park
  • Stones Lane Strathalbyn
  • Ferrymans Reserve Hindmarsh Island
  • Bradford Road Bush Reserve Goolwa
  • Currency Creek Waterfall Trail
  • Ratalang Basham’s Beach Conservation Reserve, Middleton - Port Elliot

Dogs are prohibited from the following areas:

  • Within 5 metres of playground equipment
  • Kessell Road Wetlands Goolwa
  • Jaench Reserve Hartley
  • Walter Newell Reserve Goolwa

Please note that the content below is under review.

Dog information

Dogs In Our Community  - fact sheet 

Dog Owners -  Handbook

Keeping dog registration details up to date

  • Ensure your dog’s address and other details are up to date.
  • Ensure notification is given if your dog dies, is missing for more than 72 hours, is given to a new owner or is surrendered to the RSPCA or Animal Welfare League


Dog Registration  - ' Keep your best mate safe'  Campaign

Dog Registration Fees and Charges 2017-2018(1296 kb)

Application Form For Registration of a Dog(1292 kb)

Advice of change of dog registration details - form

Free First Registration - Alexandrina Council offers free first registration for all newly-acquired puppies and rescue dogs. To qualify, puppies must be under 6 months of age and rescue dogs must have been acquired from a registered animal shelter (proof will be requested). This means you can register your new puppy as soon as you bring it home to ensure that it is given every opportunity to be reunited with you should it happen to stray.

Concessionary rates for working dogs - were originally introduced to financially benefit drovers, farmers and those actively involved in using working dogs within an industry essential to the economy of South Australia. The Dog and Cat Management Board defines a working dog as a dog that is suitably trained and thereafter used primarily for the droving or tending of sheep or cattle and the dog must be used at least 12 times per year for that purpose.

As of the 1 July 2013, any new dog registration requesting the working dog concession, will be required to complete the working dog concession form available at the Council Office at time of registration or below. Existing working dog registrations remain unchanged.

Working Dog  Fact Sheet

Working Dog Concession Form

Lost or Found Animal - 8555 7000

If you have lost or found an animal, please report the information to the Alexandrina Council immediately.

  • We have a 24 hour call centre on which you can report your details - 8555 7000

  • We have a dog collection service available 8.30 am - 8.00 pm,  7 days a week - 8555 7000

We maintain an up-to-date listing of all animals that have been lost or found and make every effort to reunite you and your pet as soon as possible. If you have lost your pet, Alexandrina Council also encourages you to contact the RSPCA on 8382 0888 and your local vet. 

Permission for more than two dogs

Council's By-law limits the number of dogs on one property at two (working dogs exempt). If you would like to apply to have more than two dogs on your property, please complete the attached application form and lodge the form at the time of registering the dog. Please be aware that Alexandrina Council can revoke this permission if conditions are not met.

Details assessed by Council may include but are not limited to:-

  • Size of your property
  • Breed of dogs
  • Current Registration details of existing dogs on your property
  • Reason for request
  • Fencing details
  • Any previous history relating to the dogs and property
  • You may be required to obtain neighbours consent. Council will advise if this is required.

Permit to keep more than the prescribed number of dogs(51 kb) - Application form


Port Elliot Dog Park


The Port Elliot Dog Park is located off Kurramin Court Port Elliot. It is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (it is closed for two days only in mid October when the Port Elliot Show is on). Opened in mid 2013, development of the Dog Park continues thanks to local support, generosity and the dedication of visitors and community groups.

The Port Elliot Dog Park is a great space for like minded people to meet, socialise, have a laugh and exercise dogs. Irrespective of whether you have a dog or not, you are welcome. There is also a Friends of the Port Elliot Dog Park Facebook page.

The Port Elliot Dog Park is fully fenced with a car park, pathways, two dog exercise areas, a notice board, young trees and seats installed in late 2013. All of this furniture was made possible by community adoption of each piece, with thank you plaques located on the furniture.

The Friends of the Port Elliot Dog Park through the sale of the Friends of the Port Elliot Dog Park 2013 and 2014 'Dogs on the Coast' calendar, raised the funds for the shelter and rainwater tank. The stone feature wall around the shelter has been built out of the generosity and volunteer hours of a local Masonry and friends. The stone wall is beautiful and a great asset to the dog park. Water will be available on site for your dogs use this shortly with the rainwater tank scheduled to be installed in the first week of 2015!

The tunnel (agility equipment) has also been upgraded, with a feature, stone retainer wall installed on either side of the tunnel to give it more stability. It has proven to be such a well used piece of equipment, that it has earned a makeover!


Port Elliot Dog Park -fact sheet

Park Rules and Training Area Rules

Where is it?

The Port Elliot Dog Park is located on Kurramin Court in Port Elliot. It is easily accessed via Leeds Street off Tottenham Court Road or Cameron Street off Waterport Road Port Elliot. There is a large car park on site and two areas within the dog park for your dog/s to enjoy so please do!

Directions to the Port Elliot Dog Park - Please see attached map





Dog Attack

To report a DOG ATTACK or harassment incident, please contact a Community Safety Officer on 8555 7000 as soon as possible after the incident.

All attacks should be reported to Alexandrina Council as soon as possible to prevent further incident. Alexandrina Council is committed to the thorough and transparent investigation of all reports of dog attack and harassment and an enforcement response that aligns with Council policy. Your cooperation is sought to ensure that the best possible outcome can be achieved following an incident of dog attack or harassment. Please refer to the attached outline of Council's dog attack investigation procedure for further information

Council's dog attack investigation procedure

Barking Dogs

Barking Dogs - fact sheet

What can I do if I am experiencing a problem with a barking dog in my neighbourhood?

Residents are encouraged in the first instance to try to solve the problem with the owner of the dog. Generally, the owner of the dog may not know it barks when they are not there. A politely worded letter or a calm discussion can resolve many issues. We have attached a sample letter that may help you with this below.

Letter to Neighbour - sample 

To report a NUISANCE BARKING DOG COMPLAINT, please contact a Community Safety Officer on 8555 7000. Please refer to the 'outline of Council's dog barking complaint handling procedure' below for further information.

Council's dog barking complaint handling procedure

Alexandrina Council is committed to the thorough and transparent investigation of all nuisance barking dog complaints. This process will require your involvement and will include the requirement for keeping several sets of bark counting diaries to quantify the nuisance and to determine if interventions are abating the nuisance.

What can I do to help resolve nuisance barking from my dog?

Alexandrina Council recommends you read the attached information to help you better understand the reasons for nuisance barking in dogs and determine how best to resolve the nuisance barking from you own pet.

My dog is noisy - Dog and Cat Management Board fact sheet

Alexandrina Council can assist you with your barking dog through the loan of bark control equipment, which have shown to be effective in assisting to rectify this problem in some dogs. This equipment can be hired to you for up to two weeks to assist in reducing the barking or determining when the barking occurs.

Please contact Alexandrina Council during business hours so we can assist you with your enquiry and discuss the temporary hire of the most suitable barking dog equipment to meet your needs.

Enforcement - Dog Offences

The following information is provided to assist those who may have been issued with an Expiation Notice for a dog offence.  The information is provided as a general guide and should not be taken as legal advice.

Alexandrina Council undertake animal management activities to keep the preserve the amenity of our community and keep our community safe. Our officers are committed to undertaking thorough and transparent investigations of all incidents before undertaking enforcement action. In accordance with Alexandrina Council’s Enforcement Policy, at times Authorised Dog Management Officers may issue expiation notices under the Dog and Cat Management Act 1995, largely as a means of deterring repeat offences. Enforcement activities are based on risk and not on achieving quotas for revenue.

You are strongly encouraged to refer to the actual legislation prior to making any decision in relation to payment of an Expiation Notice issued. It should also be noted that only some of the most common offences have been listed on this page – it is by no means an exhaustive list.

Relevant Legislation

For the purpose of managing animals within the community, Council staff are authorised to issue Expiation Notices in accordance with the requirements of the following acts. Should you require further information regarding the Dog and Cat Management Act 1995, you may like to direct your enquiry to your legal advisor.

Dog & Cat Management Act 1995

Expiation of Offences Act 1996

Penalties and Payment

All expiation fees are set by the relevant Minister and are not a decision made by an individual local government. Late fees may be added to any expiation if payment is not made within 28 days. Failure to pay an expiation to Council may result in the expiation being referred to the Magistrates Court where further penalties may apply.

Some offences, such as unregistered dog, may result in subsequent expiation notices being issued if the offence has not been rectified.

Disputing your expiation notice

If you believe the expiation issued is incorrect, unfair or where there is a legitimate reason for the offence, please read the 'Disputing your Expiation Notice' fact sheet below before lodging an application for waiving the offence, which if lodged, must be done so with a statutory declaration, supported with evidence and MUST be in writing: 

Disputing your expiation notice - fact sheet

Paying your expiation notice

Payment for Expiation Notices may be made in full in person using cash, credit card, cheque or money order at the Goolwa or Strathalbyn Offices of Alexandrina Council. Postal payments may be made using a cheque or money order. Payment may also be made over the telephone using a MasterCard or Visa Card. We aim to have the option for online payments in the near future.

All fees associated with offences against the Dog and Cat Management Act 1995 are determined by the state government and reviewed on an annual basis. Councils do not set or have input into the fee structure.

Common Offences

For your convenience please find below a summary of some of the most common offences committed by dog owners (or those responsible for the dog at the time of the offence) for which Expiation Notices may be issued. Please note that this is not an exhaustive list:

Unregistered dog - Dogs are required to be registered with Council by 31 August each year. Failure to register a dog may result in expiation. Further expiations may be issued for every 14 days that the dog remains unregistered. A dog must be registered with the Council in which it is currently residing after it has been there for a period of 14 days (it is possible to transfer a registration from another Council if the dog has been registered elsewhere for a small transfer fee). All dogs must be registered once they have reached 3 months of age. Failure to receive a dog registration renewal notice is not a reason to waive an expiation for an unregistered dog. Please note that maximum dog registration fees are set by the relevant Minister and can be applied by Councils up to this maximum rate, with concessions available in prescribed circumstances.

Dog Wandering at Large   -A dog is considered to be Wandering at Large if the dog is in either a public or private place without the consent of the occupier and is not on a leash or if the dog is in a park without either being on a leash or without being under effective control by command. For the dog to be considered under effective control, the dog must be in close proximity and able to be seen by the person to whom the dog is under control.

Dog Attack  - A person who owns or is responsible for the control of a dog is guilty of an offence if the dog attacks, harasses or chases or otherwise endangers the health of a person or an animal or bird owned by or in the charge of another person (whether or not actual injury is caused). A Control Order may also be applied in accordance with the Dog and Cat Management Act 1995 and Council’s Enforcement Policy and Standard Operating Procedures.

Should I have my dog desexed?

We encourage owners to have their dogs desexed and offer a reduction in the registration fee for desexed dogs. Desexing reduces the desire for dogs to roam, reducing the risk of your dog escaping and becoming lost. Scientific research has shown that desexing your dog reduces territorial and aggressive behaviour, whilst not changing your dogs personality. It settles them down and makes for a more contented dog.

Should I have my dog microchipped?

We encourage owners to have their dogs microchipped and offer a reduction in the registration fee for microchipped dogs. Microchipped dogs carry with them a permanent identification and can be reunited with their owners much sooner. Please note that it is the dog owner's responsibility to ensure their details are kept up to date in the microchipping database. Please be aware that microchipped dogs are still required to wear a current registration disc.

Related information 

Animal Management Plan

Dog & Cat Management Act 1995

Dogs By-Law No.5

Fine Enforcement and Recovery Unit(11 kb)