Cruelty to animals

The Animal Welfare Act 1985 (SA) prohibits cruelty to all animals [s 13]. An animal is defined as a member of any species of the sub-phylum vertebrata, other than human beings and fish [s 3].

Ill treatment of animals is prohibited and a maximum penalty of $20 000 or a term of up to 2 years of imprisonment applies. If a person intends or is reckless about whether their ill treatment causes serious harm to, or the death of an animal, the maximum penalty is a fine of up to $50 000 or a term of up to 4 years imprisonment.

Ill treatment occurs where:

  • a person intentionally, unreasonably or recklessly causes an animal unnecessary harm
  • an owner fails to provide an animal with appropriate and adequate food, water, living conditions or exercise
  • an owner fails to take reasonable steps to alleviate any harm suffered by the animal
  • an owner abandons an animal
  • an owner neglects an animal so as to cause it harm
  • an owner uses an animal in an organised animal fight
  • an owner causes an animal to be killed or hunted by another animal
  • an owner kills an animal in a manner that causes the animal unnecessary pain
  • an owner carries out a medical or surgical procedure on an animal in contravention of the Animal Welfare Regulations 2012 (SA) or ill treats an animal in any other manner prescribed by those regulations.

For a comprehensive summary of the penalties for offences under the Animal Welfare Act 1985 (SA), click here.

Cruelty to animals  :  Last Revised: Fri Dec 5th 2014
The content of the Law Handbook is made available as a public service for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice. See Disclaimer for details. For free and confidential legal advice in South Australia call 1300 366 424.
Link to sa.gov.au - find what you're looking for

© Legal Services Commission - All Rights Reserved
Funded with the support of the Governments of Australia and South Australia Website by CeRDI