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Dog Laws and Responsibilities

Welcome to the wonderful world of pet ownership in Charles Sturt!

Pet ownership is extremely rewarding, and owning a pet has been associated with healthy living and overall greater enjoyment of life. But it does come with some responsibilities to ensure our furry companions’ needs are met, and that we can all enjoy our community spaces comfortably and safely.

Here are some things you should know about owning a pet in Charles Sturt.

Dog Registration Dog Attacks
Dog On and Off Lead Areas Barking Dogs

Desexing and Microchipping Laws

Desex Dogs

From 1 July 2018 laws were introduced surrounding dog and cat ownership in South Australia. That is, all dogs and cats must be:

We encourage owners of dogs born prior to 1 July 2018 to have their dogs desexed as it 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 dog’s personality.

Keeping Multiple Dogs

As per our by-law, there are limitations on the number of dogs that can be kept on your property. These are:

  • One (1) dog on a small premises: 
    ‘Small premises’ means a property comprising of any self-contained dwelling where the property, or part thereof (ie. Flat, home unit, etc.) contains a secured unobstructed yard area of less than 100 square metres.
  • Two (2) dogs in premises other than small premises where a dog can be effectively contained.

A permit process applies to keep more than the allowable number of dogs (fees apply). The permit only applies to the dogs approved by the Council in the permit application. Subsequent additional dogs require a new permit application.

Keep Excess Dogs Permit (174 kb)

Complaints against dogs covered by the permit will be investigated and the permit may be revoked.


Dog Penalties

At Charles Sturt, we are pioneers in campaigns encouraging responsible dog ownership, and have a heavy focus on education before enforcement. However, it is the pet owner’s responsibility to understand the laws regulating their pet. Doing the right thing by everyone else in your community will also help you avoid these penalties (Correct as at 1 July 2018):

  • Failing to register your dog - Penalty $170 
  • Failing to update registration if dog has passed away, dog has been missing or dog moves location – Penalty $170
  • Failing to have dog clearly identified – $170
  • Failing to Microchip - Penalty $170
  • Failing to Desex - Penalty $170
  • Too many dogs on property – $150
  • Failing to pick up after your dog – Penalty $210
  • Wandering at Large - Penalty $210
  • Dog Attack- Penalty $315 

*note additional penalties apply for dogs with existing control orders in place in violation to any of the above stipulated requirements.

You can pay your infringement online:

Infringement Payment

Guard Dogs

The Dog and Cat Management Board can require the owners of guard dog, patrol dogs and attack trained dogs to:

  1. Microchip the dog;
  2. keep the dog confined on private property;
  3. keep a distinctive collar on the dog;
  4. restrain the dog using a leash in public;
  5. place warning signs with a 24 hour contact phone number at all entrances to the property;


  • Attack trained dog: a dog trained, or undergoing training, to attack a person on command;
  • Guard dog: a dog that is kept on a premises primarily for the purpose of guarding or protecting a person or property at those premises;
  • Patrol dog: a dog that, under the control of a person, patrols premises for the purpose of guarding or protecting a person or property at those premises.

I'm no longer able to keep a dog

If the dog owner can no longer look after their pet, the pet should be taken to the Animal Welfare League.

Only the registered owner may relinquish a pet. Please be aware that ownership of the pet transfers to the Animal Welfare League and it is therefore at their discretion whether it is re-homed or humanely put to sleep. This decision is made after a health examination and temperament assessment of the pet.

Being a Responsible Dog Owner

You can be a responsible dog owner by:

  • Adhering to the Dog and Cat Management Laws:
    1. Register, desex and microchip your dog;
    2. Pick up after your dog in public;
    3. Walk your dog on a leash no longer than 2m;
    4. Ensure your dog is under effective control an off lead area.
  • Ensuring your dog has access to ample shade, shelter and water throughout the day.
  • Exercising your dog daily.
  • Ensuring vaccinations, worming, flea treatments and vet checks are up to date.
  • Supervising young children near your dog.
  • Attending basic pet manners training classes or puppy pre schools (or otherwise learning how to train your dog using methods endorsed by the RSPCA SA).
  • Providing mental enrichment for your dog while you’re away.

Find out if you’re a responsible dog owner by taking our Responsible Dog Owner Quiz

For More Information About Dogs

Please contact our Community Safety Officers on 8408 1111 for more information or to report a dog attack.

For any enquires on the Dog Park Etiquette Signage artwork please contact Dani Scuteri –

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