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.
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.