Governement responds to Citizens' Jury on Dogs and Cats

Recognising that two-thirds of South Australians own a pet, the State Labor Government is committed to dog and cat management reform that will eliminate cruelty to dogs and cats and return lost pets to owners. 

As part of these reforms, the Government established a Citizens’ Jury to explore ways to reduce the 10,000 unwanted dogs and cats that are euthanised every year in South Australia. After meeting on a number of occasions and being presented with a range of expert opinions, the Citizens’ Jury released their report on 12 August 2015. 

The Government has now announced its response to the Dog and Cat Citizens’ Jury, and supports four of the Jury’s recommendations, will undertake further investigation for two, and cannot support one.

The Government supports the recommendations of mandatory desexing, mandatory breeder registration, mandatory microchipping and the implementation of a centrally managed database for microchip data, and greater coordination of responsible pet ownership education.

Further investigation and stakeholder engagement will be carried out on the recommendations for legislative change to assist with rental arrangements for tenants with pets, and for legislation to restrict the sale of dogs and cats in pet shops. 

The only recommendation that the Government does not support is the recommendation for a ‘Trap, Neuter, Return’ trial, which contradicts the responsible pet ownership model as well as State policy on feral cat management.

The Government thanks the 35 South Australians who committed their time and effort to this important process, and the supported recommendations will now form part of the broader dog and cat management reforms.

This includes proposed changes to the Dog and Cat Management Act 1995 (the amendment Bill) and the introduction of a Code of Practice for the Welfare of Dogs and Cats in Breeding Facilities (the Breeding Code) under the Animal Welfare Act 1985. Specific aims of the proposed changes include:
•    improving the ability of pounds and shelters to return lost dogs and cats to their homes;
•    reducing the number of lost dogs and cats that end up in shelters;
•    providing assurance to people that the puppy or kitten they are buying comes from a reputable breeder;
•    enhancing the ability of authorities to detect and prosecute ‘puppy farms’; and
•    increasing local councils’ capacity to manage dogs and cats.

These reforms will give the breeding industry the regulatory oversight to ensure that dogs and cats are being bred in humane and healthy environments, and that puppies and kittens are not bred in ‘puppy farms’. 

Anyone who breeds a dog or cat for sale will be required to register as a breeder with the Dog and Cat Management Board, and the draft Breeding Code will set enforceable standards for dogs and cats kept in breeding facilities. This, along with the requirement for breeder registration, will enable pet owners to be confident that their family pet was raised in humane conditions.

The Government has consulted extensively with the public and relevant stakeholders throughout the development of these reforms. The public was asked to comment on the draft amendment Bill and on the draft Breeding Code, and the Government received over 2300 submissions.

The draft Bill will be amended to take into account the Government’s response to the Jury’s recommendations and stakeholder and public feedback. It is anticipated that a Bill will be introduced to Parliament by the end of the year.

The draft Breeding Code will also take into account the Jury’s report and Government’s response, before being reviewed by the Government’s Animal Welfare Advisory Committee. A final draft Breeding Code will be ready for review by the Legislative Review Committee later in the year.

The Government’s response in full, as well as the Citizens’ Jury report, can be viewed at:

More information about the Citizens’ Jury process is available at: