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Buying

South Australia has laws to regulate the breeding, sale and welfare of dogs and cats. When you become an owner, you have legal obligations too.

Thinking to buy a puppy or kitten?

Follow these six steps to check the person selling is operating within the law; and understand the legal obligations you will have as a dog or cat owner..

1. First do your research and be wary of scams

Ask your breeder if they comply with the South Australian Standards and Guidelines for Breeding and Trading Companion Animals which outlines housing, husbandry, veterinary care and living minimums for breeding animals and their litters. Meet the seller in person where the animal has been bred.

Don’t send money for anything unseen or unverified over the internet. Unscrupulous scammers post pictures of animals they don’t own on fake websites and digital platforms. For more information about scams, or to report one, visit Scamwatch.

2. Check the breeder/seller is registered in Dogs and Cats Online

Dog and cat breeders/sellers must be registered as a ‘breeder’ in Dogs and Cats Online. Before buying a puppy or kitten, perform a ‘breeder search’ in Dogs and Cats Online to check they are registered. Registration does not imply the breeder’s credentials are endorsed, you need to make your own assessment. For example ask to meet the animals’ parents and inspect the premises in which the animal has been bred.

3. Check advertisements for the following details

Dog and cat sale advertisements must contain the names, contact details and ‘DACO’ numbers (Dogs and Cats Online breeder numbers) of everyone involved in the breeding and sale. DACO numbers can be checked by searching www.dogsandcatsonline.com.au

4. Your dog or cat must be microchipped

Puppies and kittens should be microchipped by the breeder/seller. You need the microchip number to register the animal into your name.

5. Get the following information in writing

When you buy a dog or cat, the seller must give you the following information.

  • Name, address, phone number and DACO numbers of everyone involved in the breeding and sale of the animal.
  • Vaccination details, known illnesses or medical conditions.
  • If desexed, the name and address of the vet and date of procedure.
  • The animal’s microchip number, date of procedure, any national registries the microchip information is stored on and name and address of the microchip implanter.
  • For dogs, any control order on the dog.
  • Any vet exemptions from microchipping or desexing.
6. Desex and register your pet

Once you’ve purchased your puppy or kitten, you must arrange to have it desexed by 6 months of age or within 28 days of purchase (whichever is later). See our dogs or cats desexing pages for details.

You must also register your dog or register your cat by the microchip number or transfer code the breeder/seller has given you. You now have legal responsibilities as a dog owner or legal responsibilities as a cat owner.