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Dog Owner Responsibilities

Dogs can be a great source of companionship and pleasure. However, dog ownership also involves responsibilities. Not only do you have responsibilities as an owner to make sure your dog is fed, cared for and exercised, but you also have responsibilities to your community in general to ensure that the dog is properly controlled and well behaved.

As a dog owner in South Australia and the City of Port Adelaide Enfield you are required to:

  • Register your dog(s) at 3 months of age
  • Register your dog(s) each year and notify council in writing of any changes of address, death or dog disposal
  • Keep the dog from barking to the annoyance or nuisance of others
  • Pick up after your defecating dog(s) in a public place
  • A dog must not attack, harass or chase a person, animal or bird, whether or not actual injury is caused
  • You must not allow your dog(s) to wander unsupervised
  • Exercise your dog(s) on a chain, cord or leash not exceeding 2 metres in length unless exercised in our off leash parks/ reserves or on the foreshore areas.

The above are all expiable offences of the Dog and Cat Management Act 1995 or the City of Port Adelaide Enfield By-laws, which the Community Safety Officers are authorised to enforce. More information on the legislation and your responsibilities as a dog owner is contained in the menu below, as the above is only general information.

Microchipping and desexing

On 1 July 2018 microchipping became compulsory for all dogs before they reach 12 weeks of age or within 28 days after the owner first takes possession of the dog, whichever is the later. A dog must also be microchipped before it is sold.

De-sexing will be compulsory for all new generations of dogs (born after 1 July 2018) before the dog is 6 months of age or within 28 days after the owner first takes possession of the dog, whichever is the later. Exemptions may apply in certain situations and should be discussed with Council.

Last updated October 2020

We recognise that some businesses and residential addresses keep guard dogs for differing reasons. The Dog and Cat Management Act 1995 and the Dog and Cat Management Regulations 2017 places conditions on the owners of guard dogs, attack trained dogs and patrols dogs. Links below provide further information to owners of guard dogs.

Dog and Cat Management Act 1995 - Section 45D
Dog and Cat Management Regulations 2017 - Section 20

Choosing a pet is a commitment for life, serious consideration needs to be put into deciding what pet(s) are right for you and your family. The Select A Pet website matches dog and cat breeds to owners budget, allergies, property type and commitment to grooming, exercise and company etc.

Council offers free first registration of dogs adopted through the Animal Welfare League or RSPCA animal shelters.  As well as increasing the number of dogs re-homed these dogs are desexed, microchipped, temperament tested, wormed and vaccinated

We encourage the use of force-free or positive reinforcement training methods for all dogs.

Force-free and positive reinforcement training is rewarding the behaviour you want to see from your dog rather than punishing the ones you do not want.

Force-free training is advocated by the RSPCA, Animal Welfare League SA, the Australian Veterinary Association, the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (Australia) and the Pet Professional Guild. For more information about force-free training visit

The following trainers operate within the City of PAE  and are classified as Force-Free or positive reinforcement trainers. The City of PAE is not able to officially endorse any particular trainer, however promotes both Force-free and positive reinforcement training methods. If you are a trainer who would like to be listed below, please send us an email with your proof of training method.

Organisation/Contact Person


Contact Details

Force-free or Positive Reinforcement

Animal Welfare League SA

Mutts with Manners


Phone: (08) 8348 1331 Email: Web:


Canine Interaction

Croydon Park

Mobile: 0432 247 999 Email: Web:


Joanne Davies

Puppy pre-school – Semaphore Veterinary Surgery

Training – Birkenhead Reserve

Mobile: 0412 400 923 Email:


Taylored Dog Training

Largs North

Mobile: 0422 056 455 Email: Web:


Turbo Tails Agility

Dry Creek

Mobile: 0433 403 410


Positive Reinforcement

Coastal Community Dog Training Club

Birkenhead Navel Reserve

Mobile: 0426 494 049



Positive Reinforcement