Keeping cats and dogs

Everything you need to know about owning dogs and cats in the City of PAE, including registering, microchipping and desexing your pets, and complying with breeding, selling and buying laws.

Own a cat or dog in the City of PAE?

Pet ownership can be a wonderful source of companionship and pleasure but it also comes with a great deal of responsibility. As a pet owner you must:

Register your dog or cat

In South Australia, it’s compulsory for all dogs and cats to be registered on Dogs and Cats Online (DACO), the statewide database for all dogs, cats and breeder registration. All dogs and cats must be registered by 3 months of age, or within two weeks of ownership. This is done using the animal’s microchip number, which will be provided by your vet, microchip implanter, shelter or breeder.

Registration renewal is due by August 31 each year. Each July, you’ll receive a reminder to log in and ensure your details are up to date.

If your pet passes away or is lost for more than 72 hours, you must update your pet's record on DACO. If your cat or dog is surrendered to the RSPCA or Animal Welfare League or is given to a new owner, their registration must be transferred to the new owner on DACO.

Got a question about registration? Jump down to our registration FAQs

Microchip your dog or cat

In SA, microchipping is compulsory and enforced by law. All cats and dogs born after 1 July 2018 must be microchipped by 12 weeks of age or within 28 days of ownership. Your pet should ideally be microchipped before you purchase or adopt it. If not, your vet will be able to safely microchip your pet.

The City of PAE offers a voucher to help towards the cost of microchipping and desexing your dog. To access the voucher, you’ll fill in this form and return it to us before you book any procedures with one of our participating vets.

Desex your dog or cat

All cats and dogs must be desexed by the age of six months, or within 28 days of ownership.  Exemptions may apply with written documentation from a vet.

The City of PAE offers a voucher to help towards the cost of microchipping and desexing. To access this, you’ll fill in this form and return it to us before you book any procedures with one of our participating vets.

Comply with breeding, selling and buying laws

There are laws that regulate breeding and selling dogs and cats in South Australia:

  • Breeders and sellers must adhere to the South Australian Standards and Guidelines for Breeding and Trading Companion Animals
  • Breeders intending to sell dogs and cats that they’ve bred must register them on Dogs and Cats Online
  • A dog or cat can’t be sold without a microchip
  • The dog or cat must be desexed by six months of age
  • Any advertisement selling a dog or cat must include the seller's and breeder's contact details as wall as the breeder registration number
  • Sellers and breeders must provide specific information to purchasers, such as the seller's and breeder's details, the breeder's Dogs and Cats Online number, vaccination details, desexing details, microchip details and any known illnesses or medical conditions

Need help looking after your pets?

The People and Pets Project provides support to people who find it difficult to look after their pets, such as older people or those with support needs. Once assessed, you and your pet will be matched with a project volunteer who can assist with things like:

  • Walking a dog
  • Bathing or grooming a pet
  • Administering treatments such as flea and worm medication
  • Transport to the vet or groomers

To register for assistance with your pet, complete this registration form. You can complete a registration on behalf of a family member or friend as long as you have their permission and can provide details about their pet along with the assistance they need.

Register your interest to join the People and Pets Project

Your extra responsibilities as a dog owner

  • Assess your property regularly to make sure that it can safely contain your dog
  • Make sure that you regularly repair and monitor any holes or gaps in the fences, and that your dog can’t dig under the fence or jump out using materials inside the property
  • Make sure that any side gates, roller doors and driveway gates are closed at all times, and lock them wherever possible
  • Make sure that your dog doesn’t have direct access to the front door when visitors arrive or when they leave
  • Make sure that your dog is on a leash when you’re moving from inside your home or backyard to the car and keep it on the leash until it’s securely in the car
  • If your dog does escape your property, make sure that it’s microchipped and wearing correct identification

All dogs bark, but continuous barking can greatly interfere with your neighbours' peace and comfort.

Ongoing barking is often a symptom of another problem, such as loneliness and boredom. Make sure that your dog gets plenty of exercise and companionship and has a comfortable, safe, enclosed place to sleep.

If your dog continues to create a persistent noise, we may fine you or place a Control (Barking Dog) Order on the dog.

When you’re with your dog in a public place, you must clean up after them. This can easily be done using a scooper and a plastic or paper bag to remove and dispose of the poo.

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

Force-free and positive reinforcement training means rewarding the behaviour you want to see from your dog rather than punishing the behaviours you don’t 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 RSPCA.

We’re not able to officially endorse any particular trainer, but all of the trainers listed below operate within the City of PAE and are classified as force-free or positive reinforcement trainers. If you’re a force-free or positive reinforcement trainer and you’d like to be listed below, please send us an email with your proof of training method.

Street and footpaths (shared paths)

Dogs must be on a chain, cord or leash at all times, not exceeding 2m in length.

Parks and reserves

Dogs must be under effective control by voice command and in close proximity to their owners at all times, unless signs declare it an on-lead area. Then a dog must be on a chain, cord or leash at all times, not exceeding 2m in length.

The foreshore

To ensure a consistent approach to dogs on the beach the following conditions apply:

  • Daylight Saving (October to March)
    • Between 10am and 8pm, dogs must be on a chain, cord or leash at all times, not exceeding 2m in length
    • Between 8pm and 10am, dogs must be under effective control by voice command and in close proximity to their owners at all times
  • Non Daylight Saving (April to September)
    • Dogs must be under effective control by voice command and in close proximity to their owners at all times
Designated dog parks
  • Jack Watkins Reserve – Churchill Road, Kilburn
  • L J Lewis Reserve – Stirling Street, Northfield
  • Roy Marten Park – Taperoo

(Dogs must be under effective control by voice command and in close proximity to their owners at all times.)

Smoking is not permitted within the fenced dog parks at Jack Watkins Memorial Reserve Dog Park, L J Lewis Reserve Dog Park and Roy Marten Dog Park by resolution of the Council on 10 December 2019.

Dog prohibited areas

No dog can enter or remain an any areas signposted as dog prohibited.

Children’s playgrounds

No dog can enter an enclosed area which has play equipment. If there is no enclosed area, no dog can come within 5m of the nearest device.

Organised sport

All dogs must be on a chain, cord or leash at all times, not exceeding 2m in length in any park or reserve when organised sport or training is being played.

We recognise that some businesses and residential addresses keep guard dogs for different reasons. The Dog and Cat Management Act 1995 and the Dog and Cat Management Regulations 2017 place conditions on the owners of guard dogs, attack trained dogs and patrol dogs.

Dog and cat registration FAQs

All dogs and cats are registered through Dogs and Cats Online (DACO). You’ll need the following:

  • An email address
  • Any concession cards
  • Certificate of microchipping/desexing

You must register your pet when they’re three months of age, or within 14 days of ownership.

You’ll need to pay your registration by 31 August each year.

The annual registrations are sent out each year in July and are sent via the method you have nominated (email, SMS or post).

If you have more than two dogs registered to your property, you’ll need to fill in this form and return it to us as soon as possible.

All dogs and cats are now issued with a permanent registration number that remains with the animal, regardless of whether you move or transfer ownership to someone else.

If your dog/cat registration disc has been lost or damaged, or if you don’t want to use the supplied plastic disc, we encourage you to buy a metal disc, badge or tag and have it engraved with your pet’s permanent registration number.

Pets that are properly identified can be quickly returned to their owners. We also recommend engraving your name and current telephone number on the disc.

If you prefer to have a plastic disc, you can request a replacement via Dogs and Cats Online for a fee.

Dog registration fees for 2024–25 are as follows:

Standard registration
Desexed and microchipped: $52
Puppy: $26
Concession: $26
Concession puppy: $13

    Non-standard registration
    Not desexed or not microchipped : $104
    Not desexed and also not microchipped: $104
    Puppy: $52
    Concession: $52
    Concession puppy: $26

      Puppy under 6 months old between 1 July and 31 December: 50% discount
      New dog registered between 1 January and 30 April: 50% discount
      New dog registered between 1 May and 30 June: no charge

        Late registration penalty
        If you renew your dog's registration after the due date of 31 August, there is a late registration penalty of $20.

        Impound fees
        If your dog is impounded, the following fees apply:
        Impound fee for the first 72 hours: $272
        Daily sustenance fee after the first 72 hours: $62
        Surrender fee: $295
        For all other dog registration fees, including assistance dogs, working dogs and business fees, see our fees and charges schedule.

          Lost and found dogs FAQs

          If you’ve lost your dog, you can view the impound listing below to see whether the City of Port Adelaide Enfield has collected it. If your dog isn’t listed, this doesn’t necessarily mean your dog isn’t at the Animal Welfare League. Please give them a call on 8348 1300 to check.

          If your dog isn’t on the impound listing, give us a call on 8405 6600 to report your dog missing. We can then confirm whether we have it impounded or not, as it may simply not have appeared online yet.

          If the dog hasn’t been impounded, we’ll record your dog as missing and contact you if we find it at a later date. You should also contact the Animal Welfare League on 8348 1300, the RSPCA on 1300 477 722 and any of your local vets.

          You can also use social media to report your dog missing. When reporting a lost dog, include its registration number, name, sex, breed, colour, age, whether it was microchipped or wearing a collar and any other identifiable features, plus where it was last seen.

          Once you’ve confirmed that your dog has been impounded, visit one of our offices:

          • City of Port Adelaide Civic Centre, 163 St Vincent Street, Port Adelaide
          • Enfield Library, 1 Kensington Crescent, Enfield
          • Greenacres Library, 2 Fosters Road, Greenacres

          You’ll need to provide the AWL impound number for your dog (if you don’t know the impound number, give the Animal Welfare League a call on 8348 1300) and provide ID (such as your driver's licence, passport or proof of age card).

          We’ll only be able to release your dog once you pay the relevant fees and charges. If your dog isn’t registered, you’ll also need to register it before we can release it.

          If you’re suffering financial hardship, let us know so that we can make sure your dog is returned as soon as possible.

          If it’s safe, contain the animal and give us a call on 8405 6600 as soon as possible. (If you call after hours, our after-hours service will answer your call.)  

          If you can’t contain the animal, or if the dog looks scared or aggressive, don't approach it. Make a note of the dog’s description and location before calling us.

          It’s really important that you don’t keep any stray dogs, as they might have already been reported missing by their worried owners.

          Our Community Safety Officers are available 7 days a week between the hours of 7am and 7pm to collect wandering dogs. Outside of these hours, we’ll only attend to aggressive dogs.

          If you don’t contain your dog or if you let your dog wander, you’re breaking the law (see section 43 of the Dog and Cat Management Act 1995). It is your responsibility to make sure that your dog is contained to your property and doesn’t pose a nuisance or threat to people, other dogs or road users.

          If your dog does wander, it’s important to understand why and make changes so this doesn’t happen again. Some suggestions include:

          • Make sure your fences are secure with no gaps or areas for the dog to dig under
          • Make sure your dog can’t jump over any fences
          • Move things away from fences which may aid their jumping
          • Keep gates and roller doors locked
          • Provide enrichment activities to keep your dog entertained in your absence

          If this is a recurring problem, we recommend booking an appointment with an animal behaviourist or your vet to determine the cause.