Pet registrations

Dog & cat ownership

New laws for cat and dog owners and breeders have been introduced in South Australia including:

  • The compulsory desexing of all dogs and cats born after 1 July 2018

  • Compulsory microchipping of all dogs and cats irrespective of their date of birth.

The City of Unley has also developed the Animal Management Plan 2021-26.(PDF, 2MB) This plan is a requirement of the Dog and Cat Management Act 1995 and its purpose is to guide the City of Unley's management of dogs and cats from 2021-2026.

Change of pet details

If your dog or cat will be kept at different premises, you are required to update Dogs and Cats Online as soon as practicable.

Please contact council on 8372 5111 or email if:

  • Your dog or cat dies,
  • Your dog or cat has been missing for more than 72 hours
  • The ownership of the dog or cat is transferred to another person. New owners must be provided with the transfer code and dog’s registration number. Dogs must wear their registration numbers (registration disc) when away from their premises.

Pet registrations

Dog registration

Dog registration is mandatory in South Australia.  All dogs must be registered at 12 weeks of age or within 14 days of ownership on Dogs and Cats Online.  

View Council's Fees & Charges for a list of dog registration fees.

Register a new dog

Cat registration

In South Australia all cats must be registered on Dogs and Cats Online (DACO), the state-wide database for all cats microchip, de-sexing and breeder registration. You can access Dogs and Cats Online anytime to register a new cat’s microchip number, change your contact information or list your cat as lost.  

The City of Unley does not apply a fee for registering a pet cat in the Unley Council area.

Keeping your information up to date is especially important and each July you will receive a reminder notice to register your cat and more importantly ensure that your details are up to date. 

Register your new cat or update details

Dog renewals

In July each year you will receive your pet registration renewal by your preferred method of delivery, either email, SMS or post, with your renewal code. The renewal code needs to be entered into Dogs and Cats Online

Once you check your details are correct and enter in any concession, information for the dog registration and the fee will be automatically calculated. You may then proceed to pay your dog registration.  Please renew your dogs registration by 31 August each year.

If you have not received your registration renewal notice please contact Council on 8372 5111 or log into Dogs and Cats Online to download your current renewal notice.

Renew your dog's registration

Cat renewals

 In July each year you will receive your cat registration renewal by your preferred method of delivery, either email, SMS or post, with your renewal code. The renewal code needs to be entered into Dogs and Cats Online. Please renew your cats registration details by 31 August each year.

Renew your cat's registration


Registering a new dog

If you obtain a dog older than three months of age, then you have 14 days in which to register the dog.  It doesn’t matter at what time of year your first registration is done. 

To register your new dog please log onto Dogs and Cats Online. When registering your new dog, please ensure that you have with you:

  • An email address (for online access)
  • Any concession cards (your card number will be automatically validated upon entry)
  • Microchip number (15 digits)
  • Desexing Certificate

Register your new dog

Responsible dog ownership

Dogs are wonderful companions and many are great family pets - but owning a dog brings with it responsibilities.

Dogs in public - effective control

 You are legally responsible for your dog's behaviour and must maintain "effective control" when taking your dog in public. This means:

  • Using a leash no longer than two metres when walking your dog in public
  • Ensuring your dog remains within your sight and responds to basic commands. This means your dog will come when called, and understands other commands. 
  • Ensuring your dog does not enter a school, kindergarten, childcare centre or shop with appropriate permission
  • Ensure that your dog does not chase or harass other people, dogs or animals, including birds and native wildlife
  • Greyhounds must be kept on a lead and muzzled in public places, including off-leash areas.
  • You must also clean up after your dog.  Dog droppings pose a health risk to the community and other dogs. Council provides dog bag dispensers and are available at most parks. Failure to pick up after your dog may incur an expiation.  

RSPCA Force Free Dog trainers

RSPCA Training 

The RSPCA of South Australia promotes the use Force-Free Training Methods and have a list of qualified force-free trainers registered in SA.

Prescribed breeds

Under the Dog and Cat Management Act 1995 special conditions apply to owing the following dogs:

  • American Pit Bull Terrier
  • Fila Braziliero
  • Japanese Tosa
  • Dogo Argentina
  • Presa Canario.

Under these conditions the dog must:

  • Be desexed
  • Be muzzled
  • Be on a lead of no longer than 2m in length when in a public place.

Any offences accredited to these breeds attract higher penalties than for other dogs.

Prescribed limits

The prescribed number of dogs per premise is two.

Under By-Law No 5 Dogs (Part 2 Limits on Dog Numbers), keeping more than the prescribed number of dogs requires our approval.

To keep more than the prescribed number of dogs, please submit the following form.

Application to keep more than the prescribed number of dogs(PDF, 120KB)

Application to keep more than the prescribed number of dogs

If you wish to keep more than the prescribed number of dogs, you must apply for a permit.

Permit applications are subject to a fee as determined by Council's Fees and Charges.

On receipt of an application the Council's General Inspector's may undertake an inspection of the subject premises. The purpose of the inspection is to educate the applicant about responsible dog ownership and to determine the suitability of the premises to keep more than the prescribed number of dogs.

Council may also make contact with adjoining neighbours to ascertain their position on the matter.

All approvals are subject to conditions including:

  • Housing and exercise areas must be provided appropriate to the size and breed of the dogs.
  • The dogs are kept for family enjoyment as part of the domestic activity (dogs kept as a business require Development Approval).
  • Owners undertake to reduce the number of dogs over time to the prescribed limit.
  • The property at which the dogs are kept is to be maintained in a sanitary condition at all times.
  • The dogs must not become a nuisance to other residents or the general public.
  • Registration of the dogs must be maintained at all times.
  • That the City of Unley be notified within 14 days if the permit holder or dog(s) move.

Where a permit holder or dog(s) move premises an application to vary the permit is required. Permit Variation Applications are subject to a fee as determined by Council's Fees and Charges.

We may at any time vary or revoke this permit in accordance with By-Law 1 - Permits and Penalties.

Application to keep more than the prescribed number of dogs(PDF, 120KB)

Picking up after your dog

Dog faeces are a serious litter issue with wide ranging impacts on amenity, health and the environment. Dog faeces carry harmful bacteria and nutrients. When dog waste makes its way via storm water drains into creeks, rivers and beaches, it carries chemicals like potassium which pollutes and destroys marine environments and impacts growth of sea life and plants.

By cleaning up after your dog and using a leash when out walking, you can assist in preserving public open space privileges for both owners and their dogs.

Most City of Unley parks have dispenser bags available for your use. While the previous black bags were not compostable, Council is phasing out many single-use plastic items, including bags for dog waste, and the new green compostable bags are now available for owners to use in our parks and reserves.

Compostable dog waste bags can be disposed of in any green organics bin - and they are also available for purchase at Council. They are made of plant starch and break down easily in organic waste. They are a little thinner than the old bags and may be slightly harder to open, but rubbing the top of the bag between your fingers will separate the opening.

We encourage dog owners to have their own 'back-up' bags to cover a long walk, as fines can apply to owners who leave waste behind.

Under the City of Unley By-law 5, no person is to allow a dog under that person’s 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 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.

Simple tips to reduce barking

  • Do not reward your dog for barking too much. Instead, reward the dog when it is quiet.

  • If your dog is barking at people or noises on the other side of a fence, move the dog to another part of the yard, or put up a barrier to keep the dog away from that area.

  • If your dog barks at regular disturbances such as children walking to school or rubbish trucks, keep the dog inside or in an enclosed area at these times.

  • If your dog runs along a path or fence barking at passing distractions, put barriers or obstacles in the dog's way to slow it down.

  • Ensure your dog has adequate exercise and obedience training.

  • If you have a large back yard, enclosing your dog in a smaller area to allow it to relax and wait for your return, will allow your dog to believe looking after the place is not its responsibility when you are not home. This can be very stressful to dogs as they also like to rest.

  • Ensure your dog has comfortable shelter, bed or kennel where it likes to sleep rather than guard the property. Make sure that your dog has food, water and shelter from the weather.

  • If your dog is barking through gaps and cracks in the fence, fill them in.

  • If your dog is barking at people it can see passing by, try blocking the dog's view.

  • Teach your dog to stop barking on command. When the dog is barking give a firm command such as 'cease' and call the dog to you. Praise the dog when it stops barking. If the dog will not listen to you, it will need obedience training.

  • Visit the Dog and Cat Management Board for tips to reduce excessive barking.

  • Visit the Animal Welfare League or phone the League on 8348 1300.

  • Visit the RSPCA or phone the RSPCA on 1300 477 722.


Responsible cat ownership

Cats are beloved members of the family that provide endless love and affection for their owners.

As a responsible cat owner there are several things you can do for the benefit of your cat, the community and the environment.

Compulsory microchipping

The introduction of new laws from 1 July 2018 includes the compulsory microchipping of all dogs and cats, irrespective of their date of birth. Cats in the City of Unley do not need to be registered and as such no fee is charged, however new state laws require microchipping details to be recorded in the state-wide register Dogs and Cats Online.

Please note, the steps to record microchipping details in Dogs and Cats Online are similar to registering a dog.

Discount microchipping

In addition to visiting your vet, Chip Blitz offers $10 microchipping events at locations around South Australia. Visit the Chip Blitz website to find a location near you.

For more information on microchipping, visit the Dog and Cat Board, or contact your vet If you have any concerns in relation to your pet.

Compulsory desexing

The introduction of new laws from 1 July 2018 includes the compulsory desexing of all dogs and cats born after 1 July 2018, by a registered veterinary surgeon. This must take place:

  • before the pet is 6 months of age; or
  • within 28 days after the owner takes possession; or
  • if the owner is granted an extension of time, before the day specified.


  • Dogs and cats born before the 1 July 2018
  • Dogs defined as a “Working Livestock Dog”
  • Dogs belonging to Dogs SA members
  • Cats belonging to FASA or Cat Fancy of SA members
  • Greyhounds currently registered to Greyhound Racing SA (retired greyhounds are not exempt)
  • Board exemption.

Vets may also grant you a desexing exemption based on it posing an undue risk to the health of the dog or cat, or adversely affecting its growth, development or wellbeing.

For more information on desexing, visit the Dog and Cat Board.

Indoor cats are happy cats

Cats can live happily indoors if they have a climbing and scratching pole, food and water, a litter tray, toys and of course your love and attention.

The benefits of keeping your cat indoors include:

  • peace-of-mind for your pet’s safety
  • consideration for the wider community and
  • protection for our native wildlife.

Here are 3 tips to keep your cat happy and entertained indoors:

  1. Play time. Daily play sessions can fulfil your cat’s strong hunting and chasing instincts.
    Try toys that encourage your cat to stalk, chase and pounce.
  2. Explore time. Cats love looking at the world from different angles. Ensure your cat has places to perch up high or hide away.
  3. Forage time. Replicate the hunting experience by hiding biscuits or providing interactive toys.

For more tips visit the RSPCA Safe and Happy Cats website.