Animal

South Australia proposes harsh penalties for dog attacks and a ban on large-scale puppy farms

South Australia has announced tough new laws to tackle dog attacks and end large-scale puppy farming, with fines up to $100,000 and stricter breeder regulations.

The Government of South Australia has introduced a draft for significant reforms to the state’s Dog and Cat Management Act. These changes, proposed by Susan Close, Deputy Premier and Minister for Climate, Environment and Water, include harsher penalties for dog attacks and a plan to ban large-scale puppy farms.

Under the new laws, penalties for dog attacks resulting in serious injury or death will see a significant rise. The fine will increase to a maximum of $25,000, a substantial jump from the current $2,500 penalty. If the dog involved has previously been declared dangerous, the fine will go up to $50,000. In cases where the dog’s attack is encouraged by the owner, penalties could reach up to $100,000 or an imprisonment term of four years.

These changes are part of a broader move to tighten controls around dog ownership and breeding. All fines and expiations linked to dog attacks will see an increase. These measures were made public today and are now open for community feedback.

The proposed legislation also introduces a strict breeder licensing scheme that aims to cap the number of female animals in a breeding program to 50. This move is designed to get rid of large-scale puppy farms that pose a high risk of animal cruelty. With these regulations, South Australia aims to align with Victoria, setting some of the strictest breeding program standards in the country.

Additional measures include comprehensive licensing and assessment for breeders, criminal background checks for applicants, and heavy fines of up to $10,000 for unlicensed breeding. The legislation also proposes strict requirements on the number of litters a female dog can produce, capped at five.

The new laws will ensure that dog control orders, like a dangerous dog order or prohibition order from other states, are recognised and enforced more effectively in South Australia. The need for muzzling retired racing greyhounds in public will also be abolished, aligning them with the general dog population’s regulations.

Local councils will receive increased powers to manage dogs that continually stray within their jurisdictions. They will be able to enforce control orders with penalties reaching up to $2,500 each time a dog with a control order is found wandering.

Susan Close said, “The South Australian Government is making sure that penalties for violent dog attacks are a strong deterrent to ensure owners do everything they can to control their dogs. We are also delivering on our commitment to ban puppy farms and stop the breeding of animals in cramped and horrible conditions. 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.”

Kym Pryde, Director of the Department for Environment and Water’s Dog and Cat Management stated, “The proposed changes are important measures to ensure breeders and owners are doing the right thing.”

South Australians are encouraged to participate in the public consultation period which remains open until Sunday June 9th.

Feedback can be made at www.yoursay.sa.gov.au/breeder-reforms.

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