Lost and wandering dogs

What if a dog wanders off?

If a dog is found to be “wandering at large”, then an authorised person (of the Dog and Cat Management Board or a local council) can seize the dog (see Seizure and destruction) and issue the owner or person responsible for the dog with an expiation notice or a summons to answer a charge and pay a fine [see s 43 Dog and Cat Management Act 1995 (SA)].

Expiation fee

Dangerous or prescribed dog $750

Any other dog $210

A dog is considered to be “wandering at large” if it is in a public place (not a park) or on private property without the occupier’s consent, without anyone exercising effective control of the dog by means of physical restraint [s 7].

A dog is considered to be “wandering at large” in a public park if no one is exercising effective control of the dog either by means of physical restraint or by command; the dog being close to and within sight at all times [s 7].

It is a defence to this charge if the defendant can prove that he or she had taken all reasonable steps to prevent the dog from wandering at large [s 43(2)].

Where a person is found guilty of a subsequent offence the court may order that the dog be disposed of within a specified period or controlled in a certain way [s 43(3)].

What is “effective control”?

A dog is considered to be under “effective control” by means of physical restraint if on a leash chain or cord no more than two metres in length; or it is secured in a cage, vehicle or other object or structure [see s 8].

Lost and wandering dogs  :  Last Revised: Tue Jun 27th 2017
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