Owners of dogs involved in “vicious” attacks will face tough new penalties and restrictions on puppy breeders will be tightened under new laws proposed by the state government.

Under the proposed reforms to the Dog and Cat Management Act, if a dog attacks a person or animal causing serious injury or death, the owner will face a maximum fine of $25,000 instead of the current $2,500 penalty.

If the attacking dog was already subject of a dangerous dog order, the fine would be up to $50,000 — an increase from $10,000. 

A dog owner who deliberately encourages their pet to attack or harass a person or animal could be fined up to $100,000 or be jailed for four years.

David Parkin says owners must be aware of their responsibilities.(ABC News)

SA Dog and Cat Management Board chair David Parkin said the reforms should help reduce the increase in “traumatic” dog attacks in South Australia.

“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,” Mr Parkin said. 

The proposed reforms would also strengthen regulations around puppy breeders — a commitment made by Labor at the last election.

The reforms would introduce a licensing and assessment system for breeders, criminal background checks on applicants and fines of up to $10,000 for breeding animals without a licence.

Female dogs will be limited to having a maximum of five litters and owners must report each litter.

Susan Close says the laws will bring SA in line with other states.(ABC News: Che Chorley)

Retired racing greyhounds won’t require muzzle

Deputy Premier Susan Close said the reforms would update the aging laws, which she said had fallen behind other states. 

“People love their pets and when they get a puppy for their family they need to be assured that that puppy has come from a mother that’s been treated appropriately with all the care and attention that we would expect,” Ms Close said.

“What we are aiming at eliminating are those terrible circumstances that we see from time to time where people are keeping dogs in their backyards bedraggled, being bred too many times … to make a commercial profit.”

A mandatory requirement for retired greyhounds to be muzzled will be removed under the reforms.(ABC News: Brant Cumming)

Ms Close said there have been instances where breeders have moved to South Australia to take advantage of the state’s more relaxed breeder laws. 

“What we want to do is say if you have been kicked out of another state, you are not setting up here, you are not getting a licence as a breeder, you are not going to be able to sell dogs,” she said.

“It’s in every breeder’s interest to make sure that we stamp out those on the fringes that are not appropriately looking after their animals and therefore giving puppy breeding a bad name.”

A mandatory requirement for retired racing greyhounds to be muzzled will be removed and councils will gain more power to manage dogs that persistently wander at large. 

Public consultation of the reforms closes on June 9.