Published on: 3 Jun, 2020
Pound facts - South Australia
South Australia is unique in that it has the South Australian government registry - www.dogsandcatsonline.com.au (DACO).
This site is a one-stop-shop for animal registration regardless of which council area you may reside in. This site allows you to identify that your animal has gone missing and will flag it as such on the database. Individuals who find an animal can also search the database although their ability to contact an owner will depend on the level of information provided on the site and made publicly available.
The registration number assigned to a dog is a one-off permanent number and if you own a dog older than three months, you have 14 days to register your dog once taking ownership. This registration number then sits on the DACO site.
Some council areas (such as the City of Adelaide) do not require cats to be registered however all cats must be microchipped. Your cat’s microchip details will be the details that sit on the DACO site and what will help with locating your cat in the unfortunate event it goes missing.
What should I do if my pet is missing?
If you notice your animal missing, you should update its status on DACO immediately.
When you report your animal missing your pet’s profile is ‘locked’ which means that it identifies your pet as lost while also ensuing ownership of your pet cannot be transferred to anyone else (i.e. it can prevent your animal from being resold).
It’s also worth noting that owners can be found guilty of an offence if their dog is found wandering ‘at large’ unless it can be proven that they had taken all reasonable steps to prevent the dog from wandering. Dog sitters have the same responsibilities as owners.
What happens if I find a stray animal?
DACO allows members of the public to search for dogs/cats they have found wandering without an owner. If you have found a dog/cat wandering without an owner, you can search the site using either the microchip number or the grey council disc number (dogs only). This will provide you with contact details to assist in reuniting the dog/cat with its owner. If the site does not provide owner details, it should provide you with the Council area the animal lives in and you can contact them to send a ranger to collect the animal. You should not approach or endeavour to collect the animal yourself if there is any risk of harm to you OR the animal in doing so.
As cats are not always required to be registered you can consider taking them to a vet for scanning or contacting the local council for collection.
Are councils required to collect stray animals?
Yes. You should contact the local council area you are in if you find a stray animal. Organisations such as the Animal Welfare League and RSPCA are not permitted to collect stray animals. If the animal is injured however you can contact the RSPCA’s animal ambulance service for assistance.
How long will my pet be held in the pound?
Holding times vary from council to council although under legislation a dog is only required to be held for 72 hours before it is either made available for adoption/rehoming or destroyed. (see s62 Dog and Cat Management Act 1995)
Is a payment required for collection?
Fees and charges are generally applicable for impounded animals, including maintenance, seizure fees, and in the case of unregistered dogs, registration fees may be charged. Fines may also be issued for dogs found wandering at large and/or unregistered. The amount payable will vary from Council to Council.
You can find contact details for your local Council here.
Will my pet be rehomed or euthanised?
By law, a dog that has been seized for wandering at large may be destroyed or otherwise disposed of (e.g. by sale) where:
the dog is not claimed within 72 hours of notice being given of its seizure
the registered owner declines to take possession
money in relation to the dog is not paid within seven days after the request for payment
If the animal is sold, the money received goes to the organisation that sold the animal. A dog may also be euthanised if it is suffering from injury, disease or sickness to the extent that it is impracticable to continue its care, or the dog is suffering from a serious contagious or infectious disease or sickness. This must, however, be verified by a vet prior to it occurring.
That said, Council’s will generally endeavour to reunite owners with their pets and if that fails will look to rehome them.
Will my pet be desexed?
A seized dog may also be microchipped and desexed, with the cost recoverable from the owner as a debt. A person is not entitled to the return of a dog unless they prove their ownership or responsibility for the dog and pay all outstanding fees and charges owing in relation to the dog’s seizure and detention and otherwise register the dog (if unregistered). Even if a dog is returned, the fees and charges owing in relation to the dog’s seizure and detention can still be recovered against the owner as a debt.
Who is responsible for registering/maintaining microchip details?
Every dog of or over 3 months of age must be registered on DACO.
Registrations can only be made in a person’s name, so a responsible person over the age of 16 will need to be nominated as the owner on behalf of an organisation. The address where the dog is kept should be entered in the registration process. If the dog is fostered, the dog’s status can be set as fostered and the foster address can be set as a temporary address.
In relation to cats, check to see if your local Council has a cat by-law that requires registration. The by-law will set out the requirements for cat registration. If registration is required it will still be managed through DACO. While your cat may not be required to be registered it must still be microchipped and those details must be kept up to date and on DACO.