Representative image of a dog.
Representative image of a dog.

Authorities in South Australia are considering a significant revision to the Dog and Cat Management Act to enhance the state's pet ownership laws.

The Dog and Cat Management Act's proposed revisions seek to penalize pet owners who mistreat their animals and discourage risky circumstances, according to The new law dramatically raises the potential penalties from $2,500 to $25,000 for pet owners whose pets cause significant harm or death. If the dog has a history of harmful conduct, the fine may increase to $50,000.

Owners who willfully provoke their dogs to attack may be subject to severe financial penalties, which can total up to $100,000.

The SA Dog and Cat Management Board's David Parkin highlighted the need to raise public awareness, and stated that he supported the suggested changes. More "traumatic" dog attacks in South Australia, according to Parkin, will be less common as a result of the tougher laws.

He pointed out, "It's very, very important that the public, the owners, are well aware of their responsibilities, and there are great responsibilities associated with owning dogs."

The suggested changes go beyond fines for proprietors. Stricter rules for breeders are part of the law, which aims to address the problem at its root. In addition to completing a thorough evaluation and obtaining a license, breeders will also have their criminal histories checked. Breeding without a license can result in severe penalties, up to $10,000. By restricting a female dog's ability to produce more than five litters, the laws also seek to stop puppy mills, according to Glam Adelaide.

The new legislation will also increase uniformity and enforcement. South Australia will accept and uphold dog control orders from other jurisdictions, including those that label a dog as dangerous or forbid it from entering specific areas. Greyhounds who have retired from racing will also receive the same care as other canines.