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Dog Control

The Act imposes penalties to encourage people to look after their dogs and prevent them from becoming a nuisance. Where an owner cannot or will not control a nuisance dog, Council may impose orders to require appropriate action by that owner. New dogs in the area are to be registered with Council by the age of three months old or within two weeks of moving from another area. If you are moving, please contact Council with your updated contact details.

Dog Registrations now fall under two simple categories:

Standard Dog – A dog that is both desexed and microchipped         Non-Standard Dog – All other dogs

City of Mount Gambier has chosen to apply discretionary rebates, (Concession, Trained, Desexed Only, Microchipped Only) – please refer to list of fees.

The Dog & Cat Management Board will also be introducing Dog & Cat Reforms as of 1 July 2018 which requires ALL new generations of dogs and cats, (born after 1st July 2018) to be desexed and ALL dogs & cats over a certain age to be microchipped. Please see What you need to know - Dog & Cat Reforms - 1st July 2018.

Any lost or found dog or dogs causing a nuisance, wandering at large or responsible for harassing, attacking or chasing should be reported to the General Inspectorate staff immediately on 08 8721 2555.

For further information visit Good Dog SA.

Dog Control Information

There are five off leash dog areas and one enclosed dog park within the City of Mount Gambier where dogs are welcome to exercise and play off leash.

While in an off leash area; the owner must not allow the dog to rush, chase, threaten, or bite any person or animal. Owners must have voice or hand control of the dog so as to be able to promptly bring the dog under effective control by placing it on a chain, cord or leash if that becomes necessary.

Off leash areas are located at Corriedale Park, Hastings Cunningham Reserve (enclosed dog park also) , Northumberland Reserve (behind the Blue Lake) Frew Park and Don McDonnell Reserve. Please see the map attached below of Dog Off Leash Areas.

The Hastings Cunningham Reserve Dog Park was built in 2015 with support and assistance from The Lions Club, The Men’s Shed, Lakes Rotary and by Council Officers and members. The park has been developed for socialisation and exercise of pets and owners in an enclosed area.

Please follow the dog park rules to ensure a safe and enjoyable off-leash experience for you, your dog and others at all times.

  • Respect all park users,
  • Ensure your dog is registered,
  • Ensure your dog is vaccinated to help keep them healthy,
  • Maintain effective control and supervise your dog at all times,
  • Remove your dog if it annoys, intimidates of becomes aggressive towards other dogs,
  • Adults must supervise children at all times,
  • Clean up after your dog and dispose of waste appropriately,
  • Maximum of two dogs per person,
  • Make sure your dog is already socialised, and
  • Avoid bringing toys and food into the park.

Please note the owner of a dog is responsible for their dogs actions at all times including whilst in the dog exercise yard.

Do you have a Barking Dog complaint?

Excessive dog barking can disrupt the quiet enjoyment of adjoining neighbours. Council officers work with complainants and pet owners to investigate, substantiate and address barking dog complaints. Dog owners have a responsibility to ensure their pets are kept under control, with minimal disruption to those living in close proximity.

When a barking dog complaint is provided to Council's authorised officers, they give the complainant a diary to record and monitor the barking over a period of time. Authorised officers will work with the owner of the barking dog to determine the cause and give advice regarding the means of keeping it quiet and modifying the dog's behaviour.

Authorised officers will handle each complaint on a case to case basis. Please download the Barking Dog Complaint Kit, or alternatively ring us and we can send one to you.

Dogs found wandering at large by authorised officers will be returned to the owner (traceable through the registration disc/microchip) whenever possible or delivered to the South East Animal Welfare League. Where a dog is repeatedly found to be wandering at large, the owner will be required to secure the animal such that it is kept under control and continual expiation notices may be issued, or a Control Order issued.

Council will issue warnings and/or expiation notices for lost and wandering dogs as appropriate. An expiation fee of $210 may apply.

The South East Animal Welfare League is situated just past the Airport on Penola Road. Opening hours: Monday to Friday 9:00am to 11:30am and 4:00pm to 5:00pm, Weekends 9:00am to 12:00pm, Closed on Public Holidays. Phone 08 8723 9133.

Council officers are available to collect found restrained dogs or attend to dog attacks after hours. Please call our Council Office and After Hours Call Centre on 08 8721 2555.

Please ensure that your animal is wearing a registration tag at all times to assist in immediate identification and return. From 1 July 2018 your new renewal will contain your animal lifetime registration tag. If you misplace or need a replacement animal registration tag, please call the Dog and Cat Management Board to order a replacement. Alternatively you can have your lifetime animal registration number engraved onto a metal disc from a local supplier.  You can receive an expiation if your dog is not wearing their current registration tag.

Dog owners must pick up after their dog when in public and dispose of the waste appropriately as per By Law, Part 3.

Council provides some dog waste bins in our off leash areas however owners are responsible for carrying their own plastic bags or scooper. There are free doggy bags available in dispensers at the off leash dog parks, and at Council offices. Failure to remove dog faeces can cost you $210.

City of Mount Gambier’s By Law of Part 3 – Dog Controls 11. No person is to allow a dog under that persons control, charge or authority to be in a public place or on Local Government Land unless that person has in their possession a bag or other suitable container for the collection and lawful disposal of any faeces that the dog may deposit (for the purpose of complying with their obligation under section 45A (6) of the Dog and Cat Management Act 1995). By Law Breach: $67.

All animals born after 1 July 2018 must be desexed as outlined in Dog and Cat management Act 1995 (Part 4), Dog and Cat Management Regulations 2017 (SA).

There are many advantages in desexing dogs and cats:

  • Desexed pets tend to live longer, healthier lives as the incidence of health problems are reduced,
  • Domestic animal breeding with stray animals is reduced,
  • Males show a significant reduction in aggressive, dominating and territorial behaviour,
  • Wandering is significantly reduced, and
  • Desexed dogs are much easier to control and any problems are generally easier to overcome due to reduced hormonal responses.

Further, desexed animals that find their way into the general environment as wild animals will not increase the population of such animals (eventually becoming feral) with their consequential impact on native animals.

For a reduced rate for desexing please apply to National Desexing Network

The Dog and Cat Management Act sets out a number of offences for which the owner or person responsible for the control of a dog can be fined. These include the dog:

  • Wandering at large,
  • Unregistered dog,
  • Attacking, harassing or chasing a person or animal (although it may be permissible in the defence of property),
  • Attacking a person lawfully entering premises,
  • Being in a school, kindergarten or child care centre,
  • Being in a shop (but not a pet shop, veterinary office or dog grooming parlour) or a place where food and drink is sold or prepared,
  • Chasing a vehicle, and
  • Defecating in a public place (unless the person with control of the dog immediately removes and disposes of the faeces).

 Some of these requirements do not apply to Guide, Hearing & Disability Dogs.

Expiations - Old vs New


If your dog goes missing you should contact Council as soon as possible to advise that your dog is missing. If Council has found your dog, it will be held (impounded) for 72 hours to allow you to claim it. If you have not claimed your dog after 72 hours under the Dog and Cat Management Act 1995 the dog becomes the property of the South East Animal Welfare League. The Council is required to post a ‘Notification of Detention of Dog’ The Notification of Detention includes a description of the dog and details about where it was found.

If your dog is registered, the Council will be able to call you and let you know they have found your dog. For this reason it is very important to keep your dog registered and your contact details up to date.  Also remember to update your microchip contact details.

Your pet should be wearing their registration tag, preferably with an identification tag. Many pet owners think that collar ID tags are unnecessary if their pets are microchipped. This is not true. If a lost dog is wearing collar identification and is found by a member of the public, it can be reunited with its owner without going to a Pound or Vet clinic to be scanned for a microchip. To release your dog from a pound, you must pay pound release fees.  Expiations may be also issued.

Yes, you must have your dog on a leash (of no more than two metres in length)  in all public places and in private places where you do not have the consent of the occupier to have your dog off-leash. Dogs must be on leash when walking along all public roads and footpaths unless otherwise signposted.

You can have your dog off-leash in ‘off-leash’ areas that are designated by Council. Even when off-leash, your dog must be under ‘effective control’ which means it returns when called and obeys commands. If your dog is not under effective control, you can be required to keep your dog on a leash in an off-leash area. Dogs that are not on a leash in a on-leash area or are not under effective control are considered to be wandering at large and may incur a $210 expiation fee.

Your dog does not have to be on a leash if it is inside a vehicle, tending stock and is a registered working dog, or if it is participating in a trial, show or class.

You can walk your dog off the leash in designated ‘Off Leash’ areas – Blue Lake Sports Park, Hastings Cunningham Reserve (including dog parks), Frew Park, Don McDonnell Reserve, Corriedale Park & Northumberland Avenue. Outside of these areas, all dogs must be on a leash.

Under the Dog and Cat Management Act 1995, dogs do need to be restrained if travelling in the open tray of a utility truck (ute) or similar vehicle. This means being transported in a cage or similar enclosure or tethered to the vehicle so that the dog cannot fall or escape from the vehicle. This does not apply to an accredited guide dog or a dog that is being used in the droving or tending of stock or is going to or returning from a place where it will be or has been so used.

There is no requirement for a dog to be restrained when travelling in other vehicle types. However, it is important to note that under the Animal Welfare Act 1985 it is an offence to commit an act which "intentionally, unreasonably or recklessly causes the animal unnecessary harm". Owners should therefore consider restraining dogs travelling in motor vehicles so that they are not unnecessarily harmed in the case of an accident.

There are five prescribed breeds of dog, these are:

  • American Pit Bull Terrier
  • Fila Braziliero
  • Japanese Tosa
  • Dog Argentinia
  • Presa Canario

The Dog and Cat Management Act 1995 requires that if you own a dog that is one of these breeds, it must be desexed and whilst not confined to your premises have a muzzle securely fixed onto its mouth so that it cannot bite a person or animal. It must also be under effective control by physical restraint, which means the dog must be on a leash which is no more than two meters in length. Any person, who sells, gives away or advertises for sale or to give away a dog of a prescribed breed is guilty of an offence.

The maximum penalty for a breach of Section 45B (prescribed breeds) of the Dog and Cat Management Act 1995 is $2500 per offence

Yes, under the Dog and Cat Management Act 1995, all dogs over three months old must be registered annually and within 14 days of you taking possession of the dog.

A person must be aged 16 years or over to register a dog.

Yes, you must notify your new council within 72 hours that the dog has moved to different premises. Failure to obey the registration law can incur an expiation fee of $80 or a $250 penalty and an additional penalty for every 14 days the registration fee remains unpaid. You must also notify your previous council that the dog is no longer in the previous premises. If you are moving to South Australia from interstate you must register your dog with your local council even if previously you had lifetime registration. Lifetime registration is non-transferrable.

Yes, Council is required to keep the dog register current and it is the responsibility of the owner to advise Council of a change of details.

It is an offence under the Dog and Cat Management Act 1995 for a dog to attack or harass a person or animal.

If you or your dog is attacked by another dog, once you are safe, try to get as many details as you can about the dog and report the attack to Council as soon as possible. Councils can investigate dog attacks and impose penalties on the dog owner as appropriate. If safe, record the registration tag details or if the owner is present and approachable, get their name, address and telephone number. Record the colour, breed and size of the dog and take a photo if safe. The more information you provide to the Council's Animal Management Officers the more likely it is that they will be able to identify the dog that attacked you.

In the case of a serious attack where you or your dog has been injured you should also call the police who are authorised under the Dog and Cat Management Act 1995 and can provide immediate assistance in an emergency.

A dog must be registered from the age of three months. An expiation may be issued if a dog over the age of three months is found to be unregistered.

Yes, it is a requirement of the Dog & Cat Management Act that your dog wears the registration disc securely attached to a collar. An expiation fee may be issued if a dog is found not to be wearing the registration disc. If you misplace or need a replacement animal registration tag, please call the Dog and Cat Management Board to order a replacement. Alternatively you can have your lifetime animal registration number engraved onto a metal disc from a local supplier.

A maximum of three dogs can be kept at a property, however, an application can be made to Council to obtain a permit to keep more than three dogs.

Download or obtain ‘Barking Dog Complaint Kit’ from Council, complete and submit to Council’s authorised officers who will work together with the owner of the dog to determine the cause and modify the behaviour of the dog.

Council officers are available 24 hours to collect wandering / lost dogs that have been restrained. Please call the Council / After Hours Call Centre on 08 8721 2555.